Man On The Line

1st January 2006 - Hannelore Müller (53) from Lohmar/Cologne, Germany:

Hi Chris! Thanks to a friend in the UK I was able to watch the interview "My favourite Hymns" (March 2005). I am still very impressed by what I heard and saw. Your lyrics and what you say in interviews often makes me thoughtful. I try to understand what you express, and surely I learn from your words, they make me somehow richer, experiences get another sense - shortly: I enjoy listening to you. What struck me in that interview are your words "I live without any regrets". I can't understand that, because if you have done something you feel sorry for, and you ask for forgiveness, then you regret it, don't you? Can you please explain "I live without any regrets"? Thanks!

I am glad that you saw "My Favourite Hymns", because that was a very nice program. And I am glad you also enjoyed what I said, because it was always from the heart. To say that I live without regrets means that I have come to believe that to constantly look back and say "I wish", or "I should", or "I wish I could have", I think these things just stop you on your tracks and they hold you down. It's like carrying heavy baggage along with you, carrying guilt which is a terrible thing to have. I am not saying that I haven't done things that I have regretted. Of course I have, but I have come to terms with them and I have moved on. I have understood that in life everybody makes mistakes. There is nobody, absolutely nobody who has the right to point a finger at another person to say they shouldn't have done that and judge. God will be the judge at the end of it all. And human beings should really not judge each other. I find it very hard for me, when people suggest, you know, if people are having difficulties for example in relationships, do I not take a point of view or take a stand for one side or the other. And I always say it's absolutely none of my business what people get up to in their private lives. Similarly I like the person that I am now. I like the colours that I have created in the past that create the person I am. And that's why I say I have no regrets. This is who I am. And don't forget Edith Piaf said the same thing: "Je ne regrette rien." It doesn't mean that you've enjoyed stamping on other people's toes on the way up the ladder. On the contrary, you've understood your failings and your shortcomings and this is the person you are today. And you should like the person you are! Because if you don't like yourself, nobody else is going to, in my opinion.

2nd January 2006 - Gillianne (31) from Normandy, France:

I've just heard on TV a song from the rap group "l'algerino" "les derniers seront les premiers". They have taken some music from your song "shadows and lights". Their song is just horrible. Did you know that? Did you allow them to take some of your music to do rap?

I haven't heard this music, but I heard that it actually took place. The song is just horrible? I am sorry about that! These things happen. You see, once a song is published and put out into the public arena, you can actually record it as long as you don't make a satire of it, and as long as you notify the publisher that you are using it and therefore, if the thing is very successful and sells a lot of records, you are then obliged to pay the money to the publisher and then back to the composer. But sometimes these things do happen, you get a very unpleasant version of a song.

3rd January 2006 - Samantha Turner (14) from England:

If you could relive one performance you have given, where would it be and why?

Well, you know what, Samantha, I am delighted that a young girl like you likes my music and has asked this question. It's very hard for me to remember of the thousands of concerts I have given, any one in particular. But there is a memory which is round the back of my head, when I played a concert in Turkey, in Ephesus. A very ancient town! And the place I stood was the same place that I believe prior to Jesus Christ, BC that is, Saint Paul of Tarsus preached to the Ephesian people. And the place itself is just haunted with history. And I got a real shiver, not only being there, but performing there to 20,000 people under a starlit sky. And it was one of the most extraordinary memories of my life, and certainly as a performer, that I would love to repeat.

4th January 2006 - Kambiz Shahkavosi (32) from Iran, now in Canada:

Dear Chris, I love your music. Everyday I must listen your music. I'm Persian but now I came to Canada for heart operation. I have one question, when I sleep I am thinking about death and I'm very scared about that. What can I do? What's your advice to me about death? Thank you so much. I'm waiting for your new album.

I think everybody thinks about death. We have to prepare for death. This is the inevitable part of life on earth. It's like going to stay in a hotel or whatever, knowing that sooner or later your holiday must come to an end. The only difference is most of us don't know when it's going to happen. I think those people ironically who do know they are going to die, if they can prepare themselves, they are the ones who have come to terms with it. Of course I think about dying and of course I am scared. Perhaps more so I am scared of how I am going to die, rather than what happens afterwards, because it'll either be complete nothingness or perhaps the spirit lives on in a different form. But to constantly think about it is not a great idea. I think, if you could come to terms with it and understand this is an inevitable part of the joy of being alive, perhaps that makes it slightly easier to come to terms with death itself.

5th January 2006 - Chris Williams (53) from Basildon, Essex, UK:

Hiya Chris, recently I was watching some old CdeB programmes that I have on video and noticed that in 1992 and 1994 you played an orangy/red electric guitar, sometimes with a wide bright red guitar strap. What became of this guitar and strap and do you still have it? Hugs, Chris (W) xx

I still have that guitar, and it's sleeping at the moment. It's on a long vacation, because I acquired other guitars, the black and the grey ones which are absolutely stunning for a live performance.

7th January 2006 - Daniel Joubert (43) from Cape Town, South Africa:

Your songs are deeply emotional and bring many people to the point of tears (myself included...) Do you ever feel so emotional after singing a song that you have to take a break to compose yourself? Your poetry is so meaningful and deep, and the musical score so haunting, that I cannot imagine the emotions running through yourself when singing!

Well, the answer is, Daniel, yes. I have this facility, when I am describing a situation or singing about a situation, to feel it very keenly, to feel it deeply. And I think that if you do not feel the emotion, you haven't got any chance of transferring that emotion to other people, to make them feel what you are feeling. And it sounds strange, but I quite often get so deep into a song that I am singing, or a story that I am singing about, that I begin to get that prickle behind the eyes. And very rarely, I have to say, in concert, it does happen. For example the song "Here For You" about people saying goodbye to their children who are flying away to the other side of the world for a couple of years, that for me always provokes the same feeling of sadness mixed with joy and melancholy. And so many people have written to me about this song. The impact, not only the people who are leaving but also the parents left behind. So yes, I do respond very strongly and very emotionally to the emotional songs that I have written.

8th January 2006 - Jane Norris (37) from Glasgow, Scotland:

I've been a fan of yours for many years and I've just come across one of your older songs, "I'm going home". It really is very uplifting, but I'm wondering who is Jilly? Thanks, Jane

"I'm Going Home" is fun. It's about a boy who goes to the city and decides that the city isn't for him, the country life is really much better suited, from the "Spanish Train And Other Stories" album. That's the feeling that I had, a joyous feeling of returning home from the city life that I was involved with at the time. And Jilly? Yes, well, Jilly was a girlfriend of that era. And I just thought it would be nice to reflect on how I felt about her, and the joyful feelings that I had about going to her place in the countryside, as well as going back to my own home in Ireland.

1st March 2006 - Robert Puett III (36) from Puyallup, Washington State, USA:

Chris, have you ever mourned someone you had never even met? When I found out a few years ago that Glen Morrow had died, I was in a deep depressed daze for a few weeks. I had never met him, and only saw him once (during your set at a rock festival in Co. Tipperary, Ireland in 1993). Do you think this is unusual? He was important to me because he was important to you and the performance of your music, so it hurt when I found out he was dead. Has there ever been someone like that for you? By the way, the music festival in Thurles and your part in it remains one of my fondest memories. That was an incredible show.

Well, I had never met John Lennon. But when he was shot, I felt that my whole growing-up had been abused, my childhood, my teenage years. Everything that I believed in, in one fatal shooting had been ripped out of my heart. I cried for days after John Lennon was killed. I felt like a really important part of my growing-up had been taken away from me. I have met two of the Beatles; one of them is the deceased George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. And of course it would have been fantastic to meet John Lennon. And it's always been a dream of mine to talk with Paul McCartney and talk about songs and songwriting, and some of the great things that he has done. I think another person that had an enormous impact all over the world, similar to John Lennon, possibly even greater impact, was Princess Diana. Well, this was someone most people had never met, but there was such an enormous outpouring of grief for her. And sympathy for her situation, the difficulties that she went through, her vulnerability, her femininity. What a beautiful young woman she was! And the tough time she had been through with regard to the Royal family. How obviously she adored her two sons. There was an enormous amount of grief. And I had met her a few times, corresponded with her. And I remember walking with my wife around Westminster the night before the funeral, and there were thousands and thousands of people. It was an eerie silence. People in tents, people just lying on the street, people with pictures of Diana, candles, children - I mean, it was thousands of people who wanted to show their respect to somebody who had really changed their view of the world. And I think that's what you are talking about, Robert. Just going back to the concert in County Tipperary - yes, I remember it very well indeed in 1993. There were about 30,000 people there and I did a great show with the band. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

2nd March 2006 - Fanclub Irish Emotions (>40) from Wankendorf, Germany:

Hi Chris! First at all..thanks for your wonderful concerts this year!! Absolute amazing. Our question: Have you ever sung one of your songs in a church during the mass? We are starting a project in our church. We want to make the mass more interesting also for younger people. So we searched for pop songs with a religion meaning. One of these songs will be: "Up here in heaven". It's very difficult but we have very good musicians in our parish. Also my sons who play guitar and drums. We will tell you about our project soon and it would be pleased about an answer from you. Best wishes to you and your family.. Your ladies from Wankendorf

Hello girls! The answer is yes, I have sung in church. Quite a few times. Never at mass, because I am not a member of the Catholic faith. I am actually what we call Protestant, a church of Ireland member. And on the occasions that I have sung in church, unfortunately they usually have been funerals. Although I sang songs like "The Lord Is My Shepherd" at several christenings, the occasional wedding for friends. In fact the most recent friend I sang for in that way was the first grandchild of the chairman of Liverpool FC. His daughter had a baby and I went across and sang at that, which was great. Funerals, I have been asked in the past to sing songs like "Here Is Your Paradise", "Carry Me (Like A Fire In Your Heart)". And a very good friend of mine who died about a year ago, his name was Robert Sangster, he was one of the great heroes of the British bloodstock racing industry. And I sang "The Journey" at his funeral. And it went down, well, when I say very well, there were a lot of tears in the audience. More recently, as I am sure quite a number of you who have heard about a television show called "Songs Of Praise" - well, on that one I sang a number of my songs in a church. One was "The Risen Lord", "Where Peaceful Waters Flow", and some of my favourite hymns. One is called "Jerusalem", another was called "Fight The Good Fight", "The Lord Is My Shepherd". So, I think churches are a fantastic place to sing. And as I am sure many of you know, I also did a concert in aid of the victims in Volendam which was in a cathedral. More recently than that concert I sang at Liverpool cathedral to a capacity audience of 2,500 people. And it was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to repeat that.

3rd March 2006 - Jon Arne Madso (37) from Trondheim, Norway:

Hi Chris! I'm working with a Chris de Burgh internet page in Norwegian. And in the biography session I've come up with a question. Why did you so suddenly become such a big hit here with the album "Eastern Wind"? You sold 125.000 copies in a country of 4 millions inhabitants. Lying on the lists for 62 weeks (9 on top). Was there a special plan for Norway promoting that album? :) "Spanish Train" and "Crusader" are two of my favourite albums of all time, but neither of them were known in Norway. What happened to "Eastern Wind" ?

I have been up to Trondheim, and it was winter time there, and my gosh, it was really really cold! I believe Trondheim is actually very close to the Arctic Circle. But it was a great experience. And Norway has been close to my heart for many many years. Because of the simple reason that when you are starting in this business and you are trying to encourage people to fall in love with your music, it is a struggle. I can assure you that when you are touring and opening for many many bands that I have opened in the past, opening concerts, it can be totally a heartbreaking business. Because if you are not getting on the radio or you are not being successful where you would like to be successful, it can be very tough and very difficult. And those people who wrongly assume that it was an easy path for me, should have been with me every step of the way, because there was an enormous amount of difficult steps to take. But out of the blue, which kind of saved me in a way, because "Eastern Wind", although it had done well in a couple of other countries, suddenly out of the blue it became a huge hit in Norway. I have absolutely no idea why. To this day I cannot find an explanation, and nobody is able to tell me why. They thought "Eastern Wind" was such a big record. As you pointed out it was 9 weeks at number one, and it was in the charts for 62 weeks, and it sold 125,000 copies, which I guess must be about four or five times gold, or maybe platinum. I am not sure what the answer is. At home I have all my gold and platinum records, which soon will be put up on the wall in a memorabilia room. I haven't got round to doing that yet, I am so busy with other things! But it gave me such encouragement and such hope to think that apart from that time in Canada with the "Spanish Train" record, and to a certain extent England and Ireland, and the first album which did well in South America, there wasn't much happening anywhere else. With Norway really coming up and saying "we love this record, we love this artist", it made a huge difference to my confidence. And to this day I am grateful to the Norwegians for bringing me into their hearts at such an important time in my career.

4th March 2006 - Gareth (10) from England:

I have a band with my friends, but we're not very good at writing songs and as I love all your songs I was wondering if you could give us some ideas for songs.

The best advice I can give you, Gareth, is listen to the songs that you really love, and try and work out why you really love them. What's good about them? What are they saying? And what are they trying to get at? Is there an alternative idea behind the songs? Because most of my songs I try to offer not just the story or whatever it is, there is something behind it as well. The best way to come up with song ideas is use your imagination. But the thing is, once you start using your imagination, expand what you see. I always say that you could write a song about an ashtray. For example, Gareth, if you can imagine you're in a movie theatre and the film starts. The camera goes down to a little cafe, say in Paris. And there are two chairs and a table outside on the Boulevard. And there are two empty glasses on the table, and an ashtray with one cigarette butt in it. The cigarette butt has got lipstick on it. Now, as you know, I don't smoke and I don't approve on smoking at all. But there is a story in this. So what we are looking at is two people have been there - one has been a woman. Who was the other person? Why have they left? Did they meet there separately? Are they lovers? Are they going to be? Are they friends? You know, from that moment you can start seeing the rest of the film. For example, just as a crazy idea, perhaps he has seen her from across the street and invited her for a drink. And she sat down with him, had a cigarette and a drink. And they have both gone off together to look at the Champs Elysees or the Arc de Triomphe. And as they walk up, perhaps somebody stops in a car and looks out the window, and it's the boyfriend of the girl saying "why are you with this guy?", and starts abusing her. And the man who has just met the girl walks out and they get into a fight. And who knows, I mean, what I can tell you is there are songs in every day life that come from the imagination. And this is where I start. As you probably know I am doing the Storyman project. It's been not exactly a struggle to come up with ideas, but I am trying to come up with ideas that are so different from what I have done in the past. A couple of clues I can give you: One involves a soldier in around AD 79, who is in Rome, dreaming about his girlfriend who is much further South in the city of Pompeii. That's all I am going to say. But he is a soldier in Cesar's army, and he is dreaming of going home. But from that moment you can then start imagining other things. I hope this kind of answers your question. And perhaps, if I can't give you ideas for your songs, I am sure you can come up with some ideas. Maybe you and your friends can come up with three strong ideas, and then write songs around those ideas.

5th March 2006 - Louanne Lima (31) from Chipping Campden, Cotswolds, UK (originally from Johannesburg, South Africa):

I am the youngest of 6 children and with 5 much older siblings, growing up in South Africa, I have been influenced by various genres of music. My brothers and sister would listen to music ranging from Bread to Pink Floyd to Jethro Tull to Dire Straits to The Rolling Stones to utterly bizarre stuff like Ogden's nut gone flake and Smiley Culture. Yet, despite all of this, I keep coming back to your music - thank you for music and lyrics which know just how to pull at the heartstrings - whether I am in love, heartbroken, grieving, or at peace. After emigrating from South Africa, I moved to Ireland and lived in Wicklow for 3 years before moving to the UK - your music saw me through many an afternoon on the N11! One of my favourite places to visit is Glendalough and I often think of your music whilst walking up on the hills - have you been inspired to write by the 'wilds of Wicklow' and if so, which songs? Someone asked me once what my ideal evening would be and I explained that I would love to have dinner with loved ones in a small, intimate venue where you could play unplugged and we could listen to your music in its purest form. Of course, I was met with sniggers of 'Wishful thinking!' Do you ever think of playing to smaller groups of people? Would you enjoy it as I guess it would not have the same rush as the usual masses? I saw you a few years ago at Ragley Hall here in the Midlands, but sadly missed you at the NEC. I hope we see you in the UK soon again. God Bless. Lou-Lou.

I think your question is just wonderful. I have read it several times, and all the bands you mention that your brothers and sister have been listening to, Ogden's nut gone flake and Smiley Culture - yes, I know all of them and I have enjoyed them. It is interesting how you come back to me and my music, because I feel that one thing that does distinguish me from a lot of other songwriters is the ability to go deep into my own heart and soul. It is almost like diving into a lake and finding something in there that applies to other people's lives. Some years ago I read an interesting way of getting to that state, which is you imagine that you are looking at a lake, a beautiful lake, perhaps in the Rocky Mountains, perhaps in Scotland, surrounded by mountains. And the lake is absolutely calm, flat calm. And you walk out to the lake, and you walk across the water, on top of the water to the middle of the lake. Then you look down and at the bottom you see rippling under the surface is a light. You go into the lake. Of course you don't feel any sensations of cold, this is just a dream. You go down, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, until you get to the bottom. At the very bottom is a golden cask, a big large golden box. And you open it up, and inside there is something very important to you. Now I think it depends on whether it would be somebody's face or a photograph or a memory or a piece of jewellery or something, that's what you have gone down to. And once you are down there you can drift and enjoy the sensation of being at the bottom of this lake. And at any point that you want you can go up to the surface again. But it is just a way of getting into your own inner thoughts and feelings. And that's what I like to do when I write songs. I am now living in Wicklow. I am not very far from Glendalough, which as you know is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. We call it the garden of Ireland in this area. When I look out of my window, I can see the hills of Wicklow. I am not far from the big waterfall at Powerscourt. And I have often been up to the lake of Glendalough, which incidentally could easily be the lake I am talking about in that previous idea about walking across a lake. My piece of music "When Winter Comes" from the Road To Freedom album is very much written with that kind of tranquil scenery in mind. And going to your second question about playing for small numbers of people, yes I have often done that. In the early days, if I went out to dinner with friends, I always used to bring along a guitar. I suppose people are so used to me now, they don't bother asking me anymore. So here I am dying to sing some of my new songs - it is not that nobody is interested, but they think, "well, here is Chris again. He is probably going to bring a guitar." Well, I don't bring my guitar anymore. I just create my music in my home studio. But on the occasions that I have performed to small numbers of people, it is very interesting to do that. I did a radio show in Ireland before Christmas, when there were only about 20 or 30 people in the room for a live radio broadcast, including dogs and all sorts of things. And the dog kept on nudging into me, and I felt this banging against my leg while I was singing "Spanish Train". It was the dog wagging his tail along with the song. It is actually very tricky to sing for just a few people, because you meet their eyes, you are very close to them, and you have to use your vocal dynamics to get through to these people. But I must admit, I have enjoyed it. And you never know, Louanne, maybe I'll get back to doing that again on a kind of private weekend just for fans to go through my own material in a very intimate setting.

6th March 2006 - Emad (20) from Isfahan, Iran:

Hi dear Chris. You know you have many fans in Iran, and you can not come to Iran and sing here (political situation). My question is: Why you do not sing a Farsi (Iranian language) song to make us happy, warm,...

Well, Emad, your town Isfahan is very famous for some of the most beautiful Persian rugs ever made. And I actually have 2 or 3 Isfahan rugs. They are not very big, they are about 5-6 foot long by about 2-3 foot wide, but they are at least 100 years old. And I love, I absolutely adore this kind of beauty and skill. As far as singing in Farsi is concerned, well I would have to be in a situation where somebody would teach me how to say the words correctly. And I am sure many people who have heard me talking in the past, know that I am very very keen indeed to go to Iran. The political situation there is, as everybody knows, extremely difficult. Now we have the West waving their arms up and down about the nuclear capabilities of Iran. About how the new government appears to be taking a more powerful Anti-West view. Nevertheless I do believe music is the international language of peace and hope, and I very much look forward to the day that I can come and sing in Iran. In fact, I can say with some degree of certainty, in my own beliefs, that I think the day will come. And I expect that it will be quite something for all concerned.

7th March 2006 - Keith Carlyon (37) from Edinburgh, UK:

Hi Chris. Firstly may I personally thank you for your wonderful music which I have grown up with over the years, but especially this past year which has been the hardest of my life. Firstly losing my wonderful father last year then losing my wife and family to another man this year. I really hit the lowest ebb of my life, but the wonderful words of your songs especially Country Churchyard, If You Really Love Her Let Her Go and more recently Snow Is Falling. The question I would like to ask is I have started writing my own songs as I feel this is the best way to express what is in my head but having shown some to my family and friends they can't believe I have written some of them. Not being able to play an instrument how do you recommend I put music to them? Once again thank you for your guidance through your songs over the last year. God Bless, Keith

Keith, I was very sad to read your story about what has been going on for you in the last year. And I hope by now things are beginning to look up a bit for you. I know what it's like to lose my father. The second part I can sympathize with you about losing your wife and family to another man. I have seen this happen to certain friends of mine. And me personally I could not think of anything more constantly heartbreaking than not be able to, for example, see my children on a regular basis, if I were to break up. Just moving on to your question about "In A Country Churchyard", "If You Really Love Her, Let Her Go" and "Snow Is Falling". These songs are intended to go into your emotions, arouse your emotions, arouse your feelings, and hopefully make people who listen to them apply the words to their own lives. Songwriting is a curious thing. It's one of those things that everybody feels they can do. And everybody feels that there really, on some occasions, there just appears to be a lot of skill involved. Well, this is certainly true, when it comes to, in my opinion, quite a few of the most modern songs I am hearing. The amount of skill involved is pretty minimal. Particularly when you are using machines. However, Keith, if you were to spend a day or two with me, or indeed anybody reading this, you would find it fascinating just to see how much time and trouble goes into polishing a song. It can take weeks and weeks and indeed months to get it right. This comes from years and years of songwriting. And to make it accessible to the audience, to realize that simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve. And my advice to you is if you want to put your basically what appear to be poems to music, or unless you are singing the words as well, is to start with the piano. The piano is an easy instrument, if you only stick - and don't laugh - to the white keys. Because you are virtually always, and I think you are constantly (a piano player will tell you) in the key of C. If you space your fingers two apart, you create two of the three notes you need to create a chord. Then again, if you put three fingers on the white notes, 2 apart each one, then you can move up from C to Dm, Em, F, G, Am, G7 and back to C. So you have an entire key to work with. And around that you can pick out a melody. And maybe that will help you to write your songs. Another important thing is to constantly have a little cassette player going. Because even the most professional songwriters always have a cassette player going. Just in case a melody jumps up and they can't remember what it was. I can certainly tell you that applies in my case. I always have something going, so I remember those little snatches and melodies that might disappear if I try to remember them at another time.

8th March 2006 - Philipp (18) from Fürth, Germany:

Hi Chris! First of all I just would like to say thank you for your wonderful music. I am honest, and I say, that I hear your music for just one year. I started hearing you when I saw you at the TV in the show "Wetten Dass" with your daughter Rosanna. I was so impressed by the song "Here for you". And I bought your album "The road to freedom". Since that moment I am a big fan of you!!! But I have one - perhaps simple - question to you. Do you think that music is going to connect people, which are fighting in wars against each other? I ask you this, because I made the experience with a friend of mine. We were in trouble, and I started to play the guitar and the trouble was gone. I wish you all the best. Please never stop making your wonderful music!!!

As you could tell from that performance in "Wetten Dass", my song was really from the heart. I managed to get the idea across about saying good-bye to your young child who is leaving at the airport. The scene was so strong in my head that it really goes along with everything I have been saying recently on earlier MOtL answers. About getting right into the depth of your feelings and emotions. It can be a scary journey, I can tell you! But you should do it in a situation of peace and quiet, for those people who are interested in doing it. But the song "Here For You" obviously touched a chord in many people's hearts all over the world. The question about connecting people who are fighting in wars against each other and whether music can help - well, I think the answer is probably not. You see, the powerful force of love is an enormously powerful one. It binds people together all over the world, but it is also terribly fragile. I also believe that the power of hate is far more violent, far stronger and can destroy love very very easily. Love is like a thin film of tissue paper over a glass. It can be smashed very very quickly and easily, whereas hate is much harder. Hate is like a rock. But I still think that love can envelop the rock. It can completely cover the rock. And in the end love will always win. But it takes a long time. And I think that music is one of the ways of trying to join people together. But if hate and violence are together, it's very hard to beat that. But it's an interesting question and how you managed to get over your particular problem with your friend through music. I think, when people are friends already, then it can work. But if people hate each other, music is going to be a tough thing to bring people together. Although it is the international language and it is the international language of love.

9th March 2006 - Kelvin Jones (29) from Gaerwen, Wales:

First let me apologise for the long-windedness of this question. I first got properly introduced to your music, via my aunt, at about 10 years old. She had a copy of the Telstar best of (a tape she would later reveal to have only been bought in a hurry because she thought 'lady in red' was on it.) Now I'm not going to give you some cliche about the songs moving me 'cause I was only ten! To me they were fun, 'Spanish Train' and 'Patricia' particularly springing to mind. It would be a few years later that I would truly appreciate your skill as a songwriter. Now from that day forward whenever asked I said that you were my favourite singer. Despite almost always getting ridiculed by my friends for this revelation (and it sometimes still happens to this day) I have never shied away from answering that question truthfully for an easy life. I believe that in a way that has shaped me as a person; someone that will always be honest and loyal despite the repercussions. So to my question, is there an action or response or event that you could look back on and say 'I chose the more difficult path and I'm better for it?'

Very interesting question! It tells me an awful lot about you and your strength and your courage. I know exactly what you mean about getting ridiculed by your friends for saying "Oh, I like Chris de Burgh". This actually applies to a lot of people, a lot of artists. For example at the moment James Blunt is very popular in many places in the world. But he is equally known for people can't stand him. Some people say his voice is very one-dimensional, his songwriting is very one-dimensional, you either love the guy or you hate the guy. And I am sure I have read that about me quite often too, although I think the depth of my songwriting is somewhat more substantial than James Blunt so far. So I wish him all the best in that area. But when you are put in a position of saying "yes, I like somebody", knowing that you will be ridiculed for it, don't forget that in a completely different way those who are following for example Jesus Christ were not only ridiculed in some ways for declaring themselves as followers, they also risked death. That's a far greater thing to risk. In effect there are many many Christian martyrs as a result of them having the courage to stand up and say "yes, I do believe in this person". So it's a very minor thing you are talking about. But I know that it does discourage, when people laugh at you. It's like going to school with wearing something that people laugh at, or when your mother kisses you good-bye in the school in front of everybody - you know, it opens you to ridicule. It's not a nice thing. But you know something? It makes you a stronger person. An interesting incident happened recently: I went to a charity dinner, where people had bought a table, for three or four thousand Euro to have a celebrity sit at that table and entertain them. And I was the celebrity at this particular dinner. And there was a man sitting beside Diane, my wife, who is on the periphery of the music industry (I won't mention his name), but I find him charming company and we chatted about many things. And he turned to Diane at one point and said "Your husband is completely misunderstood in the media here in Ireland. He is such a nice man. He is great. Why doesn't he change that perception of himself? Why doesn't he go and do interviews for the papers and so on?" And Diane said "Because Chris is happy in his own skin. He is very comfortable with the person he is. He doesn't feel the need to go and apologize for being the person he is. He doesn't feel the need, particularly in Ireland, where the media are absolutely dreadful to anybody who is famous. He doesn't feel the need to have any chance to confess about anything. He doesn't feel the need to talk about what a nice guy he really is. This is absolutely rubbish. You know, we feel all of us that we must be strong enough to withstand all the petty attacks and assaults on us on a daily basis from anywhere." And another example would be that, I know a lot of people reading this will be unhappy in their jobs and they can't stand their boss, and they feel they don't like being ridiculed and held up in front of other employees, if somebody is not doing a great job. Well, you just have to take it. But in your mind always say "One day, I am going to make that person feel very very humbled indeed. And make that person realize just how obnoxious and horrible they have been." Because I believe strongly in karma and fate. And I think, if you do somebody a bad deed, sooner or later that poison will return to you. This is something I mention in my song "Living In The World". So, thank you very much for this most interesting question. And congratulations to your honesty and loyalty, despite the repercussions. And as far as I am concerned the most difficult path I could have chosen for myself was the one I started in 1974 when I released an album called "Far Beyond These Castle Walls" and I knew from the moment I began, making that record and doing songs like "Turning Round", "Satin Green Shutters" and on the "Spanish Train And Other Stories" album songs like "The Tower", the title song, "A Spaceman Came Travelling", that I was going down a very unique path that no one else had gone down. And now I can look back with the enormous pleasure of knowing that it was me that fought my way through the jungle that created that roadway for better or for worse. And I am very proud of that.

10th March 2006 - Zeinab Jorani (21) from Baqubah, Iraq:

Dear Chris, hello. My name is Zeinab and I am from Iraq, I have just finished listening to your last album for ten times during this week and just cannot say how amazing you are. But at first time it seemed to me that your voice is tired, too tired and confused. Was I wrong? Of course then I thought I'm wrong. How can it be true when your voice vibrates in my mind and brings back the memories of what you mean to me? Your voice is still beautiful and your lyrics give hope. You never believe that I pray and thank God everyday that you exist and sing. I thought you must be really impressed by the movies and books because you have never been in a war, neither I. I always cried for those who have been involved in a war but now that I'm living in Iraq it does not seem so important. You once said "there's nothing worth dying for" I agree, but sometimes a war is inevitable just like this war. It's our road to freedom and we must pay for it, of course I think there will never be perfect justice on earth otherwise you should have been the Top Ten of the all decades of the music history. I think you will never know about me because your secretary will read this letter and maybe with a little luck answer me but you don't know either that if you answer me you will never get rid of me. Unfortunately you're not famous in Iraq and it's really hard to get one of your albums but please tell me why your last album isn't as magical as your previous works, those belong to 80's and 90's? Like "Man on the line" or "Spanish Train"? Do you run out of ideas or tired of them? I'm kidding just want to tell they are amazing. I CANNOT imagine the world without YOU. God bless you, "perfect man".

Well, Zeinab, this is another very interesting question. To be honest, when I first read it, I thought "well I am not going to answer this", because in some ways it's perhaps critical of me and my voice or my songwriting. But then I thought "no, no, I have to answer this", because in a way I think I know what you are saying. The first thing I have to say is maybe the copy of the record that you have got is a pirate copy, and the sound is not good! Because I think that my performances on "The Road To Freedom" are as good as any that I have ever done in the past. And my voice was beautifully recorded, and I certainly think it's one of the best records I have ever made. But that brings you back to the magical stories of the past like "Spanish Train" and "Man On The Line". Well, I started changing. I didn't want to be just a storyteller. I wanted to be successful. I had a band. I had people to pay. I had a successful career waiting to happen, and I knew that the pathway I was going on that I referred to in the past was going to be a difficult one, but I can assure you that after a while of writing these medieval songs or stories from the past I began to get sick of them myself. And I couldn't carry on doing them. You do run out of ideas when it's all about castles and the God and the devil. There are only a certain number of things you can do. I wanted to do things differently. But I think you'll find that on my new album "The Storyman", I do return to some of those early themes. Not necessarily from the middle ages, but certainly songs of imagination, which I hope that you are going to like. It's probably not easy to get my records in Iraq. And I agree with you that you are in a very difficult situation in Iraq. You are referring to my song "Up Here In Heaven", when I say "there is nothing worth dying for". It's funny, every time I sing it, there's a little nudge in my brain saying "well, maybe there ARE a few things worth dying for". You can't really argue with that. And I'm sure that there are some things that people would be happy to die for. This is why in the past people have fought and died defending their homes and their families, certainly something that I would do. I think what I was really trying to get across is in that song, the actual specific situation prefer to the people that I was talking, the men of the war, the collateral damage, innocent people getting killed - well, that's not right. And certainly, maybe I should have written "it's not worth killing for", but this is a fact of war and it's abhorrent. I don't run out of ideas and thank you for this idea that if there were perfect justice that I would always be in the top ten. Well, I am a realist as well. There is no way that I could always be successful like that. But I think after more than 30 years of a career, I haven't done too badly at all and I'm very very happy with the way things have gone. Thanks a lot for your question, and perhaps one day I'll have a chance to go to Iraq. Oh, and finally, by the way, you should maybe get a chance hopefully one day to come and see me live, and then you'll hear that my voice is far from being tired. It's actually as vibrant and as strong as it ever has been, even up to 30 years ago. It is probably better now than it ever was. And I am sure a lot of people who have been to my live concerts can agree with that.

11th March 2006 - Michael Folks (17) from Stone, Staffordshire, UK:

Hi Chris, I have been a fan of yours for most of my life and have every album that you have released and I have been to see you in concert twice, the last time being at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. One of my favourite songs is the Connemara Coast and I have just been over to Ireland for a holiday with my parents. We were staying in South Donegal, but took a trip down to Connemara because of your song. I was wondering if there was a particular spot that you had in mind when you wrote the line ' Nothing can compare to the Connemara Coast'? I would love to hear the answer. Best wishes Michael

Michael, lovely to hear from you! You have the same age as my elder boy Hubie. The West of Ireland has something magical about it. When I wrote the song "The Connemara Coast", I wasn't thinking of any particular specific place, although I have been there a lot in the past. I have friends who have homes near Roundstone, which is absolutely gorgeous. But there is an extraordinary complex combination of emotional strength that comes from being in Connemara. For example there is this extreme feeling sometimes of melancholy, being the Western most point of Europe. There is a feeling of history. There is a lot of emigration that has happened from that area. A lot of broken down homes and houses. There are a lot of new houses, many of which look absolutely dreadful. It's called a bungalow blight, colloquially people call it that. It has become a holiday area, and I am glad people go there. Along with the melancholy you can get breathtaking beauty. So I remember looking over the mountains one day, and rain was falling and the sun was shining behind me, and I could see this extraordinary rainbow. And the combination of colours and beauty, it reminded me much of one of Ireland's great poets, of William Butler Yeats, who wrote many many poems about the beauty of Connemara. Indeed, more recently, a friend of mine, his father died, amended a few of the words of "Connemara Coast", because his father was very fond of the area. And he changed some of the words and sang it in church, and it was very moving indeed. It is an extraordinary part of the world, and I urge anybody who wants to be romantically moved and emotionally moved, to spend a little time in the West of Ireland.

12th March 2006 - Elaine Sparling (34) from County Limerick, Ireland:

Hi Chris, it's the day after the INEC in Killarney. Thank you for a truly wonderful night. As one of your many Irish fans it was fantastic to see you play at home again...and more especially outside of Dublin - so many performers don't bother to move outside of the pale. Having read here on MOtL that you wouldn't play Ireland again my question is what made you change your mind? The concert was fantastic but the advertising was so low key I could easily have missed it. Was this a deliberate strategy? And more importantly will you play in Ireland again.....? (Limerick has a great venue in the UCHL !!) Yours in anticipation, Elaine

Although it is quite a long time ago now, I still remember and enjoy the memories of that wonderful evening, indeed a wonderful time in the West. And I particularly enjoyed the reaction of the crowd, their wonderful generosity spirit, and the fun that we all had that night. As far as the advertising being low key, well advertising is a strange thing. I often come across people saying "Oh, I didn't even know that concert was on." This can happen for one of two reasons. Either the concert is sold out, in which case the promoter will spend no more money on it. Or alternatively you are just not in an area or listening to a radio spot or reading the correct newspaper where you might have seen the advertisement for a concert. We are always highly aware of what we call the advertising spend. That is the amount of money spent on promoting a concert. My management are constantly monitoring every concert to see how the sales are, almost on a daily basis. To see, whether we need a little support. Like for example, if I need to call up and have a radio interview or a newspaper interview to bring people's attention to the fact that there is a concert on. And I think they did a fairly good job on that particular show under the circumstances. But I will be playing in the West of Ireland again. I am not sure if the date has been put up on the website or is even confirmed. But it will be later this year, hopefully in September. And this time it will be with the band, and hopefully also with the Storyman project.

13th March 2006 - Heike Stelljes (46) from Germany:

Dear Chris, some days ago a young couple I know very well lost their third baby. The little boy was only ten days old. It was so hard to find words of consolation. Did you ever have the situation to have to say something and no single word came out of your mouth? All the best, Heike

Hello Heike! Your question is a difficult one, because everybody deals with grief in a different way. It's particularly difficult when a close friend is in terrible terrible despair. And it's often hard to find words apart from just a hug and showing quietly support by trying to get meals for example for a friend, or taking over the daily duties. Because people are absolutely numb, when these things happen. Here in Ireland we often, in the Catholic faith, have a thing where you can meet the family the night before the funeral in the church and a traditional form of showing your compassion, showing your sense of bereavement as well. As the family involved is to say "I'm sorry for your troubles.". It's a well-known phrase here in Ireland. And this often is heard at the day of the funeral. Because people often don't really know what to say. As far as I am concerned, if it is somebody who has lost a parent, what I have advised people around me to say and what I actually say to these people is "Remind yourself what it was like growing up. Remind yourself when you were a little child. Remind yourself of the wonderful memories of growing up with that parent. Don't just remember that person when they were elderly, perhaps ill. Try to remember them when they were young and vibrant." In answer to your question, I have always found something to say. Whether it's the correct thing to say in these circumstances or not, I don't know. But there are always words that you can find. In the case of your friends, the young couple who lost the baby, that is absolutely tragic. It's even worse, if that's possible, than losing a baby during pregnancy. When the baby is born, healthy and then dies. It's the loss of a real person. And I can only suggest that they should cherish the memory of that child, and treat the baby as if it were older than it actually is, 10 days. And would it become a person, maybe imagine what the baby would have been like at 5 years old or even 10 years old. But then, perhaps some people take a photograph of the baby, maybe done up in a beautiful outfit to be buried. These things do help.

14th March 2006 - Francis Descoteaux (39) from Ottawa, Canada:

You must have noticed that the crowd at the many sold out concerts you've done in Ottawa is more of the "sit down and listen" type. For my part, I'm just not big on dancing. I go for the wonderful music and stimulating lyrics. I often wonder, however, how you feel about it. Does audience participation affect your performance, your choice of songs or how you interact with the audience? Does it affect how you feel about your performance ('cause it shouldn't!)? Thanks for your wonderful music.

Yes, I have noticed many times that some people in the crowd want to dance, other people want to sit and listen. And since your question has been asked, I have actually performed in Ottawa, and you may recall it was a stunning night. It was a sold-out crowd, I think 3,500 or something. And although it was a solo performance, I felt that everybody was there enjoying themselves participating in an event. Not just watching a performer, they were just joining in. Many times I have been in situations where it has been difficult to get the crowd on their feet. I never push it. The closest parallel, as I have probably said before, to the concert is seduction of a man attempting to seduce a woman, or indeed the other way round. But if you go too hard too quickly, then it just doesn't work. You'll turn people off. You can't walk on the stage in front of a lot of people who obviously just want to listen and say "Everybody clap your hands!" You know, "Wave your arms up and down! Everybody get up from their seats and dance." That will come eventually. But you've got to feel it. This is part of the experience of knowing stage craft, and knowing exactly how to move an audience. To listen very carefully to the audience, to listen to the applause, look in their eyes, and see exactly what they want to do and when they want to do it. And then I am quite sure, that you will achieve what you want to as a performer. The audience participation doesn't really affect my choice of songs. That is usually done beforehand, so the lighting and sound technicians can actually know what I am about to do. But it can definitely affect the performance in as much as if you've got a very vibrant crowd, as I had for example in Dortmund in the Westfalenhalle in November 2004, that audience was so vibrant and so fantastic, you can't but respond with energy, with strength, with emotion. It's sometimes incredibly moving. You get chills down your spine and the hairs on the back of your arms go up. Like when I walked out on the stage that night in the Westfalenhalle, I had tears in my eyes, the absolute rush of emotions. The same thing happened again at quite a few places in Canada, notably the first night in Montreal. It was like people jumped up when I walked out on stage. And it was like the feeling that you have when your own team has just scored the winning goal in the European cup final, as I have seen Liverpool do last year. The emotion is amazing, and you are just watching those people greeting you and saying basically "thank you for the years and years that you have brought music and magic into our lives", it's a very emotional thing and clearly not all audiences are the same. And you just judge each one on its own merits on the night.

15th March 2006 - Kaveh Saber (18) from Rasht, Iran:

Hello dear Chris. Now the "MOtL" section is growing up and I think that it's the most popular part among the fans. Few days ago I saw that my favourite sportsman "Roger Federer" has this section in his official site too (please have a look at it). As you said before: this shows that you are friendly and close to your fans and this is very important for them. Now, do you know any other famous person who treats like you and maybe in another question: was the "MOtL" section your own idea? Many thanks from Here For You.

I think it's not only really important to keep in touch with your fans, but also show them respect by helping your fans all over the world to understand that you do find it very important to not only share your own ideas with other people, but also read their opinions and ideas about yourself. I would be very sad indeed if the website came to an end, and I wasn't able to read people's comments, remarks, things that have touched them on a daily basis, tragedies in their lives, great things that have happened. Because all this amounts to a really wonderful understanding that it is a globe that we are living on. It is a global village and we are all living on the same planet. And it emphasizes yet again that we are all human beings with slight distinctions in colour and the way our faces are built. But beneath all that, we operate exactly the same way. Our internal organs, indeed our emotions and fears and hopes. And that's what I get from reading the guestbook and reading the questions on MOtL. I have to say at this point that there have been times when it has been very difficult for me to get involved with MOtL, because of outstanding other things that I have to get up to. And I have been working extremely hard recently on my new songs for the Storyman Project. And in fact I will be going into the recording studio in April and May to start working on the new songs. But when you are a single songwriter, and all the ideas must spring from your own imagination, all the words, all the music, all the melodies, it's really very difficult to do. Particularly when now I must have written over 200 songs and trying to come up with good ideas is not particularly easy. I didn't know about the Roger Federer site, but it's a very good idea. And I have no idea where the idea came from. I know that David Bowie started doing this years ago, because he was very glued to the internet at a very early stage. I am not sure how many other top stars do it, but I think it's a very important thing to continue to do. Because as I said right at the start of this answer, it shows overwhelming respect to those who support you and are responsible for helping to be the person you are and why you are today. That's me I am talking about, by the way.

16th March 2006 - Ian McDonald (41) from Vancouver, BC, Canada:

Hi Chris, Chris Williams from the email list recently posted a link to a web site with a write up on Bargy Castle, this was written in the info: "Recently a dungeon, crypt, sepulchres, a secret passage and walled-up entrances, yielding weapons and gunpowder, were discovered. One of the bedroom partitions has unique hand-carved panelling dated 1591." I am curious as to what sort of weapons were found and how long had you been living on a pile of GUNPOWDER!!!! Also this wood panel from 1591, what does it depict if anything. Thanks.

Hi Ian! I know your name very well. Even the word "popsidoodle" applies to you, because you write things not only in the guestbook, but also on the Yahoo site. The write up on Bargy Castle was part of a brochure for when the castle was operated as a hotel. And yes, there have been secret passages, dungeons, gunpowder. When we moved into the castle, as people probably know, there was no water, electricity or furniture and there was no heat. It was winter time, 1960 I believe, it was very cold. And about, I would say probably during the Easter holidays the following year, we discovered a hole in the floor in the tower of the castle. And down there in very dusty, dry conditions, along with some bones, was this package that my brother handed to me. And I dusted it off and it had the word "Gunpowder" written on it. We contacted the Irish army who set down explosive experts to deal with it , and they blew it up in a field, and it blew a large crater in the ground. The gunpowder was actually described as gelignite and it was unstable, so it could have gone off at any time. We were happy that it didn't go off at that particular moment. The kind of weapons we found were muskets. I think one smallish musket and a pike and a sword. This wood panel dated 1591 has the letters "RR married MS", and there is the Christian symbol underneath that dated 1591.

17th March 2006 - Monika Maid (48) from Ingolstadt, Germany:

Dear Chris, a few weeks ago I found "The Lovesongs" from you on a CD. For some wonderful moments the song "It's me" felt like a sudden walk with you together to a little cafe in the near of a cathedral, where the autumn leaves are falling. I started out to find this story of Ernest Hemmingway, but could not find it here in Germany. There is another song in this collection, which makes me wonder. "Much more than this" and to this wonderful song about a time nearly in every relationship I have a question , which only can be answered from you: About which relationship did you think when you wrote this lyric? What do you really mean, when you sing this part with such a tender voice: "it would take much more than this to break a love so long in the making. It would take much more than talk or dream to break so strong a foundation. More than this"?

Thank you for another question from you, Monika. I am glad that you felt the same emotion that I was trying to describe about the cathedral and the lights and the walking down to the river. And in fact, when I sent this record to a friend of mine shortly after I made it, she called me up and said "I was there, I could see the tombstones. I could see the candles and the church. I could feel the emotion that you were trying to express. Congratulations!" So I think it worked, and I think it worked for Monika too. It's loosely based on the book by Ernest Hemingway "A Farewell To Arms". I am sure it is available in Germany. It's not necessarily a place where Ernest Hemingway may have written the book, but I was very fond of the book and I am very fond of that writer, and I wanted to write him into this particular story about the lovers and the war. If you go back to the song "Say Goodbye To It All", there are also hints at that particular book in that song. The song "Much More Than This" I wrote many years ago. And I wasn't particularly looking at my own situation, but I was looking at a situation of people who do travel a lot and perhaps get tempted by a member of the opposite sex and fall to temptation. But what I am saying in this is that I have always struggled to understand why people split up just because of a physical indiscretion. Because it's far far worse to have an emotional bond with another person, when you are married to somebody. It's much more dangerous and I think most people would agree with that. And I am also saying that a love affair that grows and grows into a long relationship is like a tree. And it should be able to withstand any storms that come its way. I think it's the new relationships that tend to have the most problems with people who are being unfaithful or disloyal. Not the ones that have survived the test of time.

18th March 2006 - Ramtin (22) from Shiraz, Iran:

Dear Chris, hi. Just have a question: In the song "Don't pay the ferryman", I got why "He shouldn't pay him until he get him to the other side", but I can't get why he shouldn't "EVEN fix a price"!?!?! Maybe it's a foolish question, but I would like to know!!! Thanks.

I spoke in an earlier answer about some of the wonderful carpets that came from what used to be called Persia, and Shiraz is another place where there used to be wonderful carpet makers and weavers. "Don't even fix a price" refers to getting into a dialogue with the ferryman. And I think in my song, our hero is being advised not to even distract himself or the ferryman from getting the boat to the other side. Then they can organize the price. You see, what is happening in my imagination is that our hero has gone on the boat, and they are half way across, and that's when the ferryman demands the money. That's also when you hear the voices shouting from the bank "Don't do it! Don't pay him till you get to the other side!" Because what he'll do is the ferryman will cut your throat and throw you in the river along with all those other people. That's the dancing skeletons and there is a sort of nightmarish scene in the background, and the thunder and lightning. And by negotiating a price the hero in the song would be saying in effect how much money he has with him. And that could cause his own death as well. So that's what I was thinking of in that song.

19th March 2006 - J.A. (31) from Ireland:

Dear Chris, do you have any tattoo's? If so, please describe!

Very quick answer - the answer is no. I know there are a lot of people who have been doing it and have done for centuries, tattoos of various sorts and piercing and so on. I have to think that in some cases it does add to particularly to a young woman's beauty, and maybe to a man's virility and masculinity, having tattoos on his back or on his forearms. And a lot of people believe they are wonderful. I have no feelings either way, I don't really care either way about tattoos. But I think facial piercing with studs and earrings in the mouth, and I think actually it's almost for me, at my age, certainly laughable. Because instead of making particularly a young woman more attractive, it makes in my opinion less attractive. But it does make that person feel bonded and feel part of a group that she or he hangs out with. I think it's part of a rebellious thing, belonging to a group. I particularly know a young girl, a friend of mine, who in her early twenties put a stud in her lip and it looked horrible. I mean, surely horrible. She was so pretty, but with this thing in she looked awful, in my opinion. And quite a few other people too. And when she finally took it out after about two years, the change in her was massive. She looked absolutely gorgeous right after that, and I think she felt better about herself too.

20th March 2006 - Vickie Stiver (40) from Fort Erie, ON, Canada:

First, I love your work. Can't wait to see you in Toronto on Nov. 11th. I don't know if this has been asked before but, I did ask this in the FAQ page of this web site also. I think this might be a tough one. I loved the movie "If You Could See What I Hear", the story about actor/comedian Tom Sullivan that was made in the 80's. It starred Marc Singer and Shari Belafonte. In the bar scene, Marc sings your song "Carry On". There are also other songs from "The Crusader" that are on the sound track. Is Tom a fan of yours? Do you know him? How did those songs get to be in the movie? Did you have any input or choice of what songs they used? "Crusader" is one of my favourites. I do enjoy all your songs but the older songs are the best, in my opinion. I am always searching E-Bay and through old VHS movies at garage sales or in stores but have been unable to find a copy of this video anywhere. I don't think it is in print any longer. It may have been filmed in Canada, I know there were some Canadian actors in the movie as well. Have you seen this movie? It is one of my favourites. I love the scene at the end when Tom saves Blythe in the pool (he said this really happened to him but with his own daughter). He spends a lot of energy denying that God exists but when push comes to shove he falls on his knees, looks up to the sky and yells "God, help me." Does anyone have any idea where I could find a copy of this movie? I hope this question is interesting enough to be answered. I've been wondering about this movie for years. Thanks. Take care, be safe in your travels.

Yes, my songs were used in this. I only saw the film once and I thought it was a terrific film. I was very impressed by how they used the songs of mine. There are no restrictions on using songs in films, as long as the filmmaker instructs the publisher what he is about to do and they negotiate a fee for this. So quite a lot of my songs have been used in films. Sometimes I have been actually asked to write specific songs for films, for soundtracks and so on. And indeed my new film, which hopefully will be in production soon, "Through These Eyes" has the title track and various other new songs that I have written for it. "Crusader" is obviously an old song, and I am glad you like the old songs. I am hoping also that you'll enjoy some of the selection from the Storyman project. And even from "The Road To Freedom", there are old-style songs that I wrote. For example "Rose Of England", which was very much along the same lines as "The Girl With April In Her Eyes" and "The Tower". I think the best way to find a copy of this movie is through the internet. I am sure it is available on video, if not on DVD. But it is a bit of an obscure film, and I think it was made in Canada.

3rd July 2006 - Stephen Johnston (42) from Ottawa, now living in the Netherlands:

I was first introduced to your music in Ottawa in the late 70's, and I've had a chance to see you perform in Ottawa, Montreal and the Netherlands, where I live now. Your music has always held a special place in my heart, and you provided the soundtrack for some very special memories with my first high school girlfriend. So thank you! You've mentioned a few times that you are somewhat "drawn" to the First World War and the tragedy of that time. I know that a lot of people, myself included, feel a particular pull towards a certain time and place that is stronger than what would normally be called "interest" - a powerful and emotional feeling that goes beyond any reasonable explanation or personal family history. For instance, I am strongly drawn to India, particularly during the time of the Raj. I am also aware that some people meet others who feel the same pull, and I wonder if you have any further thoughts on this topic, and if you do, whether you feel this explains the emphasis on the folly of War in many of your songs. Looking forward to the Storyman concert in Amsterdam on the 4th of December!

Yes, for many years I've felt a very strong pull towards the First World War. And to be perfectly honest, I have no explanation. But I do think that it could be a number of different things. Firstly environment and background. My father was a Colonel in the Second World War, but my grandfather was in the First World War and he fought in the trenches in Flanders. He's been a long time in the trenches in fact. Although he didn't talk much about it, it's possible that as a youngster I might have picked up from him some of his thoughts and memories. In his study, when he lived with us down in the castle in Wexford, he had prints and pictures of his time in India, when he was chief of the general staff, just prior to the Second World War, with 600,000 men under his command. And there are other pictures of the First World War, Ypres for example, the Battle of the Somme. I may have picked up some feelings and some atmosphere from those pictures. My second explanation could be that as science is discovering more information passed down through DNA, it could be that future generations have picked up trauma, disaster, catastrophe, anything really extraordinary that happens in somebody's DNA that is then passed down into future generations. This is a possibility that is well worth considering. And a third one is, if you do believe in past lives, it could be that reincarnation has emerged in people's beliefs and feelings that maybe once upon a time they were in another place and another time. It's something that has emerged quite a lot in my writing. For example in the song "Bal Masque", and several others. I still have a very very powerful pull towards the First World War, the poetry, the English poets like Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves. A few years ago I bought a BBC television documentary with original film footage of the First World War. There were, I think, 7 DVDs. And to try and explain the sheer horror for both sides involved, all sides involved in this war, is almost beyond my abilities. The sheer catastrophe of what happened during that war, which was claimed to be the war to end all wars, but of course it never happened and it never will happen that way. But the First World War was just outstandingly grotesque, and I have a very emotional attachment to this war for some reason that I said right at the start I cannot explain.

4th July 2006 - Heather Helton (35) from New York City, USA:

Dear Chris, One way I've always enjoyed listening to your music has been, especially at the house I grew up in, to sit in a dark corner with the headphones on, eyes closed where I feel I am actually inside the song. So, I've listened to every bit of sound even and especially as a song fades. I've always tried to find hidden meanings. So tell me if I've drawn the right conclusion about Transmission Ends. I remember at the time the album came out there was such a threat of nuclear war. At the time I was maybe 15 and always having been a cheery child there appeared a cloud of gloom that tempered my natural joy. When I would listen in my corner to Transmission ends I felt such sadness and despair, but what let me see a light pierce the darkness was that when the song was ending the heartbeat of the Earth, of life, flat lined, but I kept listening as the music faded and I could just hear the heart start beating again. It was like you were saying, "It's going to be okay." I felt comforted and you gave me some hope when I felt the world was going to end in what could have been a day. I'm getting emotional as I write this and remember even though it was 20 years ago. Was what I've described what you were trying to convey with the heartbeat restarting? I would be honored if you would answer this. You'll always be part of my heart, Heather

Heather, your question is beautifully written and exactly describes what I had in my mind in "Transmission Ends". It was written as what we call a stream of consciousness, where different things precipitate either other ideas, precipitate different moods, atmospheres. One idea leads to the next, although they are not necessarily joined together. And in "Transmission Ends", at the very end, I am suggesting that all these radio and television signals that bounce out of planet Earth perhaps are being picked up light years away. And I imagined a spacecraft in the future from planet Earth being out there in the cosmos millions and millions of light years away. And they receive a transmission from Earth, saying "This is the radio station on planet Earth. We're closing down." And they receive this transmission shortly after a huge explosion fills the night sky, and they see the earth exploding. I know it's not a very pleasant thought, but as Heather has pointed out it was the threat of nuclear war, and there are no winners in nuclear war. I remember when I recorded the song and listened to it, just like Heather did, in a darkened room with my headphones on and I saw very powerfully the pictures that I was trying to create. I had tears in my eyes, and I still do when I listen to it actually, thinking how precious our earth is and how easy it would be to destroy it. And indeed the ecology of the earth at the moment is under serious threat from what human beings are doing to it. And she's quite right again by saying that the heartbeat of the earth turned off. And if you listen right to the end of "Transmission Ends", it picks up again. There is hope.
P.S.: I am REALLY hoping Germany not only makes it all the way to the World Cup Finals, but goes on to win... it would be so fantastic for the country that I am so fond of , and happy to be in, for so many years!

5th July 2006 - Chris Raymond (54) from Whitton, Twickenham, UK:

Hi Chris, I've just been watching the DVDs from the 'Ultimate Collection' of your music - I loved them! I know that there is a delay of a few months before questions are answered but am hoping that this will reach you... It was wonderful seeing Ian Kojima playing the saxophone on a couple of the tracks and I wondered if you will be bringing the 'sax' back for the Storyman Tour? That would be great! Thanks. Bye, Chris R xx

Hi Chris! How are you doing? I am glad you liked the DVDs. I have been in touch with several of the guys from the Canadian band, and they are all in good shape. Ian Kojima was and still is a very talented musician. He could play keyboards, guitar and saxophone. I loved the sound of a saxophone. But sadly I did not incorporate saxophone into the Storyman album, so we won't have a saxophone player. But I can assure you there are sounds on this record that you will have never heard before, certainly on one of my records. Because every song is designed to be viewed like a film. There is an accompanying story, and I want, when you listen to it, people to immerse themselves in the pictures that I am creating, using sounds from all over the world, from Africa, from Russia, from France, you name it, it's in there. So this is quite an interesting mixture of musical sounds and genres and I hope you enjoy it. Sadly though, no saxophone.

Editor's note: Congratulations, Rosanna! After Chris de Burgh's daughter completed her year as Miss World, she returned to her studies at University College, Dublin, and finished her Final exams in May. We have just heard that she got a First Class Honours Degree in Sociology, and a Second Class Honours Degree, First Grade, [a 2.1] in History of Art, altogether a BA (hons). In addition, she was offered a four year PhD Scholarship in Sociology in UCD! Well done, Rosanna!

6th July 2006 - Vivian (46) from Montreal, Canada:

For the umpteenth time, I had the great pleasure of seeing you perform in Montreal recently at the Theatre St. Denis. I have been a big fan for the last 30 (!) years (God, neither of us can be that old!) and have enjoyed each and every concert I attended in Montreal and Toronto over the last 30 years as well as every recording I own. I must however take exception with your "foray" into provincial linguistic politics. You may not remember but while on stage you made a note of your approval of the efforts that are underway (for decades I might add) to protect the French language here in Quebec. I doubt you would make such a comment simply for crowd appeal and hope your comment was sincere. If I am right and you do agree with these efforts; I have to ask just how much you know about the situation??? Do you have any clue what impact these policies have on Anglophones and Allophones (non French or English mother tongue) such as myself?? Let me tell you the situation is far from ideal... How would you feel if Celine Dion (aaarghhh) or any other Canadian performer for that matter would have come to Ireland at the height of the IRA crisis and voiced her approval or disapproval of the situation?? I know that in many ways we are all citizens of the world but as they say ...all politics are local.

Thank you for your most interesting comment, which of course I am very happy to respond to. Although of course again it would be simple to ignore this kind of a question. Nevertheless I am keen to stress that I have been coming to Canada and indeed the province of Quebec since the early 70s. And I know a lot about the background, the political difficulties that this part of Canada has been going through. I have seen perspectives not only from the French-Canadian side, but also the other side of Canada, whose disagreements were much greater and more sharp-focussed all those years ago than perhaps they are now. I have always been reluctant to make a political comment about situations I know very little about. Mainly because I think too many pop stars open their mouths without knowing what on earth they are talking about, in situations like this. However I do believe that I know more than most, which puts me in a position to actually be able to say, on stage, as I have said in the past incidentally words in French. I am a Francophile and I adore the language and I adore a lot to do with the French and French culture. And I have received nothing but warmth and understanding every time I have been in the province of Quebec. I do agree with you that there are times when it's not a good idea just for pleasing the crowd to open your mouth and come forth with crowd-pleasing comments. But it certainly wasn't meant from my point of view, it was meant more solidarity with the situation that I hope can be comfortably negotiated between all parties concerned. Don't forget also, Vivian, that I live in Ireland and I'm extremely familiar with how local politics do have a global impact. And I think the problems that you have had and continue to have in Canada, do have a wider impact than just local politics, may I suggest.

7th July 2006 - Doris Neerfries (37) from Dinslaken, Germany:

Dear Chris! I'm already looking forward to visit your "Storyman"-tour in November/December 2006, and even will see you for the first time at a concert abroad in Birmingham. I really was amazed, that the tickets were already sold about 13 months before the tour. I also wondered if all the songs for your new album were already composed at that time. My question is: How is the process, when you plan a tour? When do you choose the songs, which you will play? And how long do you have to practice with the band, before the first concert can begin? Are the preparations for a tour with band rather different than for a solo-tour like in 2004/5? By the way, I didn't miss a band at all at your "The Road To Freedom"-tour, but it'll also be a nice change to see you with the G-boys again. Best wishes, Doris

Thank you, Doris, for sending me the photographs of you in your home, where the walls of certain areas are covered with pictures of myself. I hope this isn't driving your family crazy. And it probably is! Just a few questions to answer about tickets on tour. It's that some artists, and I am one of them, have a very strong, loyal fan base, but not the kind of people that rush to buy tickets the moment they go on sale. You know, selling out a 50,000 seat arena in the first ten minutes, that just doesn't happen to me anymore. And also, I had decided, quite a long time ago what the project was likely to be. Even got the title "The Storyman", and a very good concept of what we were trying to achieve. So that's why the tickets went on sale so long ago. The process of planning a tour is extremely complex. Even a relatively short tour like the one we are going to do, which if you can think about trying to move 30 or 40 people around overland or flights, and that kind of thing. The travel, the hotels, the kind of equipment that is required, particularly on a band tour. It's an awful lot of work, and we start this process at least a year and a half before a concert tour begins. And there are a lot of people involved in that process. Choosing the songs is always a headache, because now I have got even more to choose from. And I am very much hoping to play most of the songs from the "Storyman" album, plus a lot of songs from the past, maybe unusual ones that we don't usually play that have a relevance to this particular Storyman project. So practicing with the band will be quite a lengthy process. We go into rehearsals for weeks at a time, and then we go to light and sound and technical rehearsals. So it's a lot more complicated than a solo tour. But it is my choice to do it this way this time. That doesn't mean I won't go back to being a solo performer, because I love it and maybe next summer I will be back out solo again. But this particular tour I am looking forward to, because playing with the band adds a lot more bite and punch to songs that require it.

8th July 2006 - Pauline Ellerington (48) from Hull, East Yorkshire, UK:

Hi Chris and a very happy New Year to you and yours. I've noticed that a good number of pop stars etc. have calendars on the market, have you ever thought of doing something like this? I'd love to be able to see you looking out at me 365 days of the year!! We watched the Songs of Praise and enjoyed every minute of it, hearing you sing and listening to you talk, you have such a beautiful voice and look very sexy in your specs! It was lovely to see Diane and Rosanna too, you make a very beautiful family together. Keep warming our hearts forever, love always, Pauline.X

Thank you very much for your remarkable comments about looking very sexy in my specs! Unfortunately I have to wear them nowadays in order to read, and I certainly stood out amongst the choir of Marlborough College during the Songs of Praise special as about the only one of a certain age as well as one having to wear glasses. I thought the Songs of Praise thing was absolutely fantastic. I was hugely impressed by the BBC and the way they put together that programme. It was a lot of work for everybody involved, but I thought it came out extremely well. I hope that the people who saw it enjoyed it as much as I did. As far as having a calendar on the market, no this is not something we have thought about, but it is actually a pretty good idea. But I presume you are not talking about a calendar like a topless kind or a Pirelli calendar. You are talking about just pictures of me in various positions on a monthly basis or locations on a monthly basis. And I am certainly looking forward to warming your heart again with my next project.

9th July 2006 - Peter Aguiar (41) from Toronto, Canada:

Chris, first I wanted to thank you for your fantastic Toronto concert in November. You were wonderful. During the concert you spoke of "Songbird" and your admiration for Eva Cassidy. I was not familiar with her music, or tragic history. I have since purchased both Songbird and Eva by Heart, and have thoroughly enjoyed both albums! Thank you for introducing me to this fantastic vocalist. Care to share any more of your personal favourites?

It's very rare that I hear somebody as talented as that, who makes my jaw fall open and I was astounded even more so when I understood that the songs that I was listening to from Eva Cassidy, which were "Fields Of Gold" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" were actually recorded live. Just her with a guitar, and I think there was another guitar player, playing quite in the background. A huge talent and a massive loss, I think, to those who love singing of an ability and quality as this. As far as my personal favourites, well there is nothing special at the moment that has struck me. I am in a bit of a bubble at the moment, having worked so hard recently on my own album. I don't really get involved with too many other CDs. But I would point anybody interested at Ethnic music, World music, music from Africa for example that I have listened a lot to. And there is a music company called Putumayo World Music. If you go to you'll come across a very wide and interesting selection of World Music. And I have got a lot of these records, and I love them. It's a complete change from the usual stuff that is on the radio. And it's one of the reasons why I decided to make quite a few of the songs in the Storyman project have a very strong ethnic background, as people will hear when they hear the instruments. Arabic music, African music, Russian music, etc.

10th July 2006 - Muhammad Awais (23) from Islamabad, Pakistan:

Hi, Chris!!! Let me thank to you for The Road To Freedom... Indeed it's an increase in the pristine collections of your songs. I am living in Pakistan where it is very hard to get your CD's especially the old ones. But I am lucky enough to have found a friend all the way from Poland. Her name is Agata & she sends me all your albums. Believe me we became friend just because of you. She knows everything about you and your family. The original thing for which this message in intended to you is about another song on the Earthquake happened in Pakistan last October & also about Katrina, Tsunami & Rita which caused thousands of deaths. I am looking forward to hear your pristine voice & also waiting for your comments about my message. Many hiiis to every fan of you. Long Live... Chris... I love you... That's true!!!! Muhammad Awais

It's great to hear that you have friends in other parts of the world who can send records to you. I know that there are some countries where it's actually quite difficult to get a hold of my records, but nowadays with the internet and also with worldwide fan base, people can keep in touch and send each other music around the world. The earthquakes and Tsunami Katrina and Rita? These natural disasters that are happening at the moment, there is a lot of extreme concern about global warming, and are perhaps the reason why these catastrophes are happening. But I think if you back into history, you'll find that hurricanes, tsunamis, disasters, earthquakes did happen anyway in the past. I think because modern media now picks up on them so fast, we all feel that these things really didn't happen much in the past history, but more recently than that. My belief is that the earth is under severe stress and severe pressure from what we are doing to it at the moment. And unless governments and particularly leaders of governments in the major countries take a strong stand and say "Enough is enough. We do not want to leave a dying planet to our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren." I think we have certainly got a massive problem facing us in the future and very soon too.

11th July 2006 - Lucie (37) from Quebec City, Canada:

Hi Chris. I got the chance to hold your hand during your last show in Quebec City last November 2005. Your hands are so soft!!!! What is your secret??? I have tried to have soft hands for years with no results!!!!

This is a sweet question! I unfortunately don't recall the moment you and I held hands. But my hands being soft? Well, I don't know what the secret is! I do plenty of washing up when I am at home. And I, like everybody else, wash my hands. But for years I have used a Nivea cream. Because I hate the feeling after you've washed your face or shaved of having dry skin. So I always use some kind of face cream and hand cream. I have never particularly noticed that my hands were soft, but they are certainly not sort of hardened and rugged like builders hands. Because I am extremely aware that I make my living from my hands, and I am kind of careful what I do with them. Like for example, if I'm ever walking down the road towards a dog that I have never met before, I keep my hands in my pockets, because you never know they might just take a lunge at you and bite you. That's said, I adore dogs as well, but I am very careful with my hands, because I use them to play the guitar and the piano.

12th July 2006 - Evgeny (24) from Arad, Israel:

Hello Mr. de Burgh, how are you? First off I'd like to thank you for the songs you write and perform; I find them to be a true inspiration. "Where We Will Be Going" song in particular is one of my favorites. There are a few lines in it however I do not really get, these are "And the savage beast will surely die/ In Bethlehem far below" and "But the Bowman turned and carried on/ HAL prepared for childhood's end/ And it came out of dark and wintry skies/ On a terrible December night/ In New York City". Could you please explain what were you describing in these lines? Thank you and God bless!

There are times when I have to admit that I deliberately put lines into my songs that people will struggle to understand. Except perhaps a lucky few who go a little deeper into the origins of some of the phrases that I came up with. However in "Where We Will Be Going", which is also one of my personal favourites, I may as well tell you the background of some of the lines. There is an Irish poet called William Butler Yeats, who is one of the most prolific and admired poets. He is dead now, but he left a wonderful body of work. And one of my favourite poems is called "The Second Coming", and I urge anybody reading this to look up, maybe on the internet, W.B.Yeats The Second Coming. Because it is one of the most powerful and evocative poems I've ever read. It massively refers to the situation in Ireland during the early part of the twentieth century and during the troubles. It also refers to the gyre, which Yeats believed was a repetition of events on a 2000 year cycle. So therefore the second coming would be the second coming of Christ. And towards the end of the poem, it mentions a rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem to be born. And I am referring to that part of the poem, but also the fact that I am trying to suggest that I am in my song "Where We Will Be Going" I feel that we are blessed and that we are going to a heaven. So I am looking down from above on the Bethlehem below. The Bowman refers to the movie, one of my favourite films, "2001 - A Space Odyssey", where Bowman is the surviving astronaut who goes on at the very end of that film. And if you haven't seen it, it's just a fantastic film. Very stimulating to your imagination, where Bowman goes on into this rebirth that happens at the end of that film. HAL is the computer which those of us, who know the film, HAL was called HAL because it is one letter before IBM, which was the biggest computer company in the world at that time of "2001 - A Space Odyssey". So HAL was dreamed up by the writer of this book and film as the name of the computer. And childhood's end is a wonderful science fiction book by Isaac Asimov. The dark and wintry skies on a terrible December night in New York City refers to the murder of John Lennon. These are things that had an impact on me during my life. Things that I've read, things that I felt, things that I have enjoyed watching or reading.

13th July 2006 - Hannelore Mueller (54) from Lohmar, Germany:

Hi Chris! When you hear the word "Tortoise" (landliving turtle), what springs to your mind? As you might guess, I have a special relationship to tortoises. Thanks for answering even such a non-CdeB-question.

I have been asked an awful lot of questions in my life, and this is really one of the most extraordinary and different. But I do have a personal belief that all living creatures have a sacred place in the whole panoply of life on Earth. And it's incredible to see how every living organism will struggle extremely hard to stay alive in whatever way it needs to. Clearly there is something in our understanding of being alive, that it's much more preferable than not being alive. So this is one thing that I would refer to, when I am thinking about tortoises. Because they are very long lived, and indeed I think they are almost prehistoric in their genetic make-up. Extremely interesting animals, and they live a long time. Some of them can be living up to, I think, 150 years old. They are wonderful animals to have, particularly for children to have as pets.

14th July 2006 - Sara Hansen (20) from Kerteminde, Denmark:

Hi Chris! I just finished Dan Brown 'The Da Vinci Code' and I love it! In a way it reminded me of some of your songs, which I grew up with. And I just started wondering if you have read it? If you have what do you think of it? Thanks and love Sara

Yes, I have read "The Da Vinci Code". I was fascinated by it and I loved the idea of what happened in the Louvre where a man dying leaves a puzzle for Dan Brown's character, played by Tom Hanks in the film, waiting for him to unravel and discover the code. These kinds of books and indeed films interest me a lot. There's another good film called Enigma, written by Robert Harris, who is one of my very favourite authors. And he also wrote Fatherland, Pompeii and Archangel. And I thoroughly recommend them to anybody who wants to read an extremely gifted writer. I must admit, towards the end of "The Da Vinci Code" I thought it got a bit soft, and it wasn't quite as gripping as it was in the earlier part. I haven't seen the film yet. But just by curiosity you might like to know, Sara, that I have written a song on my new album called "The Mirror Of The Soul", which takes us into a monastery in the 15th century in the Dordogne area of France. And it's got a similar kind of filmic themes that maybe existed in movies like "The Da Vinci Code".

15th July 2006 - Dustin Bjorkquist (32) from Edmonton, Canada:

Congratulations on a successful and exciting year. With your daughter winning, and your Ferryman label producing both DVD's and albums you are an inspiration for everyone. But my question to you is... I read somewhere that Patricia the Stripper and Rosanna were not considered by your label at the time to be worthy. And as you know they are both loved by your fans, ... With your own label, would you consider to produce songs you wrote throughout your career, but were unable to record them? Best wishes to you and yours!

Thank you for your kind remarks not only about my daughter Rosanna winning the Miss World competition, but also about the Ferryman label coming on stream which was a very exciting time for us, and the DVDs and the albums that are being produced on that album. And of course for me "The Storyman" is the 2nd one to come out for me on the Ferryman label. "Patricia The Stripper" was possibly, I don't actually recollect, considered a bit too strange and weird to have got on the "Spanish Train And Other Stories" album. But it was a very important part of my sense of view and my writing make-up, and at the time I kind of insisted that it should go on the record. And we re-recorded it in 2000, and then again with this Dustin The Turkey puppet character, which was a big hit here in Ireland. It's a fun record, and it's actually extremely popular, although I don't hold it particularly highly as a brilliantly written song. But there are some funny lines in it and people enjoy it. So if you enjoy it, then it's entertainment! But the song "For Rosanna" was always going to be on my "Into The Light" album. There were very few occasions during my recording career that I had to listen to either an A&R man or anybody else telling me what should or shouldn't go on my albums. I was always very much in control of the quality of the songs that went on. Although I would listen to a producer, and I would probably have a feeling in my heart, if a song wasn't good enough to put on a record. But there are all sorts of chances to re-record things that perhaps weren't done as well as I thought they could have been done. Or maybe in a different way, some time in the future!

16th July 2006 - Monica Ganguly (31) from Wuppertal, Germany:

Hi Chris, In the second verse of your song "Heart Of Darkness" you're holding the same note very long at the end of the line "And I started the journey of my life". Sometimes I'm also able to hold it with you. I've also seen this part of your talent in Cologne in 2002; you showed it during the song "Ship To Shore". Did you hold this one note that long completely on your own or did you have technical help to make it sound longer? All the best, Monica

I know your name very well from the Yahoo website as well as the guestbook. And I am glad you enjoy my music so much, Monica. Yes, I can hold a note for a long time, and yeah, that was me at the end of "Heart Of Darkness". "The journey of my life", I think is the line. Similarly in "Ship To Shore", not a problem there. And on my new album a song called "The Shadow Of The Mountain", I hold a note quite a long time. There are of course ways of technically doing this in the recording studio, as well as other tricks of the trade, which we rarely use. But I like to be able to reproduce on stage what I do on record, so I like to be able to sing as accurately as possible without using extra ways of enhancing the voice.

17th July 2006 - Jacques Poirier (41) from Montreal, Canada:

Since my wife left me for another man, I have been listening to your songs in another way, they don't sound the same... Did you have a lot of heartbreak or love in your life, and did they inspire your songs? (I didn't see your show, because I didn't have the money this year... I never missed one since 1980, and I will not miss anymore... I hope)

Jacques, this is a sad question. I am sorry that you have difficulties in your life. It's funny the way that people listen to music. It often depends on the frame of mind, if you are happy or sad, things do sound different. I have a very strong imagination, Jacques, so although I am sure I have had my share of heartbreak and lost loves in the early years, I now refer to either my imagination or the people around me. Because as I get older and I see that even people who have grown up with me are unhappy in their relationships, they fall apart, I can imagine what must go on behind closed doors. I never want to make a judgement about other people's personal relationships, and I absolutely abhor and I am disgusted by the intrusion by newspapers into people's private lives. Because nobody knows what goes on inside private homes. And really you should never ever make a judgement about other people's private lives. That's my stanza and I will never change that. But just coming back to your question, yeah I do recall the ache of a broken heart and it can go on every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. It's like an illness. But thankfully that doesn't happen, at the moment anyway. And I hope it won't.

18th July 2006 - Caroline Montminy (37) from Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada:

Bonjour Chris! First of all, my husband and I take this opportunity to tell you that we admire you. We think you should be very proud of what you achieved, not only in the music business but in your life. We admire your personality and your balance in life. You promote great values and you are an inspiration to young couples like us who work very hard to pass on these same values to our children. We are sure that each day you make a difference in somebody's life (well in ours for sure!). Now the question. On the night of your concert in Quebec City (November 15, 2005), I bought the DVD "The Road To Freedom". It's a great DVD. We watch it very often and it always brings back the emotion that I felt that night. I really enjoyed this concert. I wonder how you choose the location to record a live performance for a DVD (or a CD)? And about "The Road To Freedom" tour, you said in the interview section of the DVD that you listened to almost all the songs you wrote over the past 30 years to plan this tour. Is it more difficult and do you have to put in more work these days to prepare for a concert than it was 20 or 25 years ago? Thanks for your kindness and your generosity. You're one of a kind. Caroline, Martin, Philippe (8 years old), Laura (5) et Emmanuelle (2) vous saluent et vous envoient beaucoup d'amour!

Again I'd like to say that I am amazed and overwhelmed by not just the questions, but the compliments and the comments around the questions. And this is a particularly nice message really to me from Caroline and her family. It's just wonderful to think that my music has helped me connect with so many people all around the world and helped them in their own lifestyles and helped them perhaps bring values to their children's lives. I have never regarded myself as anything more than a singer and a songwriter, but sometimes it is wonderful to hear that the ideas that I have had are actually reaching a wider audience and have an impact. The locations to record a live performance depend upon a number of different things. For example there has to be plenty of room in the auditorium for the static cameras to be mounted. There has to be plenty of open lines of sight, so cameras can get a good shot of the stage. It has to be welded in the auditorium, so the audience shots can come up. Obviously we have to have the cooperation of the venue. When it actually happens during a tour, usually the best time to do a video of a performance is once the music has settled down and everybody is feeling confident. And a very important part of this is a choice of venue where you know the audience is going to be very enthusiastic. Because quite often when lights are shining on an audience, they become so conscious and they don't really participate as much as you'd like them to. But there are other factors brought into the equation of course, including financial considerations. When we did "The Road To Freedom" DVD, I remember there was a problem, because we were driving to Bielefeld to do this concert and there was a big traffic accident on the Autobahn. And for an 8 o'clock show, I didn't get there until ten past seven, which left very little time for preparation, backstage filming. And the director needed more time to do the shots, so there was a bit of a problem there. But I think in the end we did actually put together a very nice DVD that reflected that particular concert and that evening. The preparations for a concert these days, as Caroline has pointed out, can be very lengthy. And already I have started putting together lists for "The Storyman" tour, because obviously my band would have to learn not only the new songs, but also a lot of the old ones. And in fact on "The Storyman" tour, I am hoping to do a few songs that are from my back catalogue, but have rarely been performed in the last few years. It's great to hear that your children are also into my music, and hopefully they'll love the stories in "The Storyman" project, that should be out in the early autumn.

19th July 2006 - Barbara Shechuck (51) from King of Prussia, PA, USA:

Hi Chris! The first song I ever heard you sing was The Lady in Red. I loved it so much I went out and bought Into the Light and loved that too. Next was Flying Colours and I loved that too. I started digging and found that you had released quite a few albums! I believe I now own most of them, or nearly so. Then I was looking for a tour. That's when I learned that you don't tour the United States. That puzzles me because Chris de Burgh should be right up there with Billy Joel or Phil Collins or any number of artists who are very successful in the states. I have seen concert videos, but I always thought that there was something missing. It took a long time for me to be able to travel for a vacation and a concert, but last November a friend and I went to Toronto and saw you at the Roy Thompson Hall. WOW! You have an incredibly beautiful and powerful voice to compliment those wonderfully written songs. I'm so glad I got to see you in concert. The medley made it possible for you to fit in more songs, and singing while walking through the crowd was brilliant! (Brittney Spears eat your heart out!) You did a number of my favorites and I have soooo many. And I was right about there being something missing from those videos. I came away from that concert with a complete picture of your performance and interaction with the crowd. I can only figure that the limitations of film and the editing that must done just don't quite capture the whole 'Chris' for some reason. Okay, I'm supposed to ask questions so here goes: How do you decide what your 'play' list will be when you tour? You have so many wonderful songs it's hard to imagine how you choose. Also, do you actually rehearse more songs than you will actually play at one concert so you can change out some titles during the tour? If yes, how do you decide what to change and in what city or what venue? Thanks Chris. Your music adds richness to my life. I really enjoy listening to your albums/CDs. I pray that all is well with you, your family and your friends.

Thanks very much for your question. It's an interesting one in as much as it's often discovered that live albums reflect the excitement of a concert much greater and much better than the albums that people go on tour with, the studio albums. And this is a perennial problem and there are two simple answers to it. Firstly when you have a live interaction with the crowd, it's way more exciting for everybody concerned. And secondly most, if not all the songs of a new album, have never been performed live. And they always change, they always usually grow bigger and better. So by the time you have performed them 50 times, they sound quite a lot different to what's on the recorded version. I know that there have been times in the past where we have captured the full excitement of a big crowd on film, and I would refer to the Dublin concerts as a good example of that. But when you are on stage solo, it is pretty hard to create even on film the excitement that can be generated. Although I would suggest, Barbara, that you have a listen to the Live in Dortmund CD, which is an amazing way of listening to what an enormous crowd can bring to a solo performer. I am sorry that I have never been a huge star in America. But there is another simple answer to that, it's that for America you have to spend a lot of time there. Occasionally you can have a hit like "Lady In Red" was a No. 1 there. But you have to back it up with a lot of touring, a lot of television and a lot of radio. And I did a lot of that back in the late 70s, early 80s and mid 80s. But it's a place that you have to dedicate a lot of your life to. And in 2 or 3 years I would say I am happy having my fans in the United States, happy getting decent enough airplay, and maybe something will happen in the future that will draw me back there on a more regular basis like for example I do in Canada. The playlist about touring, I have referred to before. It's a long and arduous process of deciding what songs to do, what songs to leave out. And there are times when you look at different countries and you say that such and such a song was a big hit here and we'll do it. And it may be less familiar in other countries, so you do that. And usually when I am rehearsing with the band, we do extra songs as well. Just in case during the first say ten live performances certain things don't work as well as you expect. And running orders are also critical as well, to get that right, to get the balance of a show absolutely spot on. Thank you for your good wishes to myself and my family. We are all in very fine form, thank you.

20th July 2006 - Alison Bellerby (43) from Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK:

Hi Chris I would like to thank you for all your beautiful songs and fantastic concerts, I have been coming to see you since the Getaway tour in 1982, (and haven't missed one yet). I now always try to get front row seats. Your music is an inspiration and helps me to get through life. I am a designer and have recently become self employed. In the summer I found it really hard to settle down to work when the weather was good, and just wanted to be outside. Do you have this problem when you're writing songs or do you find that you can isolate yourself from the outside world? See you at NEC, Love Alison.xx

This is a great question about how hard it is to work when there is good weather outside. A very good example of this is here in Ireland, and I am speaking to you towards the end of June. We have a major exam for youngsters aged 17/18 over here, called the leaving certificate, which in England would be the equivalent A levels. But it's more complicated in as much as pupils have to do sometimes as many as 8 or 9 different subjects. You can always bet that during the leaving certificate, where something like between 50,000 or 60,000 youngsters are fighting away in the exam halls with their exams, the weather is going to be stunning outside. And so it was this year. Because my elder boy Hubie has sat his leaving certificate. And his younger brother Michael is doing his junior certificate. And Rosanna was doing her University finals, all exactly the same time. And the weather was gorgeous, and I was trying to work on my new album, and I kept on getting distracted by the beautiful weather outside. And I feel uneasy if I am doing something indoors, if I can't wander about outside into the garden. We have a big beautiful garden with gorgeous views and beautiful trees and stuff and it's just nice to be out there. So, Alison, it's difficult to be creative when the weather is good. You and I sound like we share something very much in common, that is this sort of unease about when the weather is good. And in fact sometimes I welcome a rainy day, because then I can get on with the important indoor things that I have been trying to do the last few weeks and haven't gotten round to doing.

21st July 2006 - Ingrid Giese (46) from Radstadt, Austria:

Dear Chris - I will thank you for all the wonderful music you gave us all over the years. Would you be so kind to tell me your birthday-time and the name of your birthday place in Argentina? I only know that you were born on the 15th of October 1948. Many thanks and God will bless you.

I was born on the 15th of October 1948 in a town in Argentina called Venado Tuerto. I believe it was around 5 o'clock in the morning. So perhaps you are going to be looking at my star sign and the alignment of the stars when I was born. It was certainly a lucky day when I was born, otherwise I wouldn't have had the chance to experience this amazing planet, planet Earth.

22nd July 2006 - Kelly Preston (37) from Riverview, NB, Canada:

Hi Chris! I'm not sure if anyone has asked this question before or not, but was thinking about it the other day. You are so gracious and kind to your fans, and so personal with so many of them, but I was wondering if there was ever a time you were a little fearful? Or perhaps, a fan-meeting you found particularly amusing? You must have some really great stories! Congratulations on a successful Canadian tour. I can't wait to see you come back! Cheers! Kellyxo

Hi Kelly! I remember very well meeting you and enjoyed the experience very much. The only strange thing I have ever noticed about meeting with fans is how sometimes how nervous they can be! And I am always surprised by this, but I suppose I shouldn't be, but flattered as well that anybody should think I am that important that they should get nervous about meeting me. But I suppose also, if I would meet some of my heroes, I would be apprehensive and nervous. So I am always very careful and very quick to make sure people feel comfortable and at ease. And I especially like meeting people who perhaps had a handicap or maybe an accident, because just little things can mean a lot, little gestures, autographs for example on photographs. It is not difficult to be polite and it is not difficult to be kind. And there are too many people in positions of fame, celebrity status and power, who seem to think that they are immortal and above all that kind of thing, forgetting of course that the reason they have become popular is because people like them. And it costs absolutely nothing to be polite and compassionate and understanding. It's something that certainly I have been very keen to promote in my own lifestyle. And my daughter follows that. She is a very gracious Miss World, and very understanding of what it means for people who perhaps idolize her to come and meet her and shake her hand and have a photograph taken with her. There have been, I suppose, some occasions like if there is a big signing session in a music store, when a lot of people get very excited, that can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. I think it is difficult for some people to understand that I have a limited amount of time and energy, particularly on tour, to spend with fans and talking to them. I am a very approachable person, but there are certain points, particularly after concerts or when I am concentrating on the day of a concert that I can't spend too much time talking to people, because I am very focussed when I am doing my job. One regret has been before the Dortmund Westfalenhalle show a year and a half ago, that I didn't realize there were so many people. And there were high expectations and it turned into what I described later as a rush and crush. And I know some people were disappointed. That's the kind of thing that I wish I could have done again and had more time. But it was a big night for me, 7000 people for a solo performance, and I wasn't told that there were so many people. They wanted quite a lot of time with me. So I apologize for that again. But next time we'll get it right.

23rd July 2006 - Deb (40) from Winnipeg, Canada:

There's an artist (James Blunt) who recorded a song in his landlady's bathroom - have you ever used an unusual location to record for the acoustics?

Yes, there are all sorts of strange places you can record and strange noises that come onto your records. For example on the "Road To Freedom" album, I recorded half of it at my home. And I am sure, if you listen carefully, you can hear dogs barking or birds twittering in the trees, or doors closing, or maybe even people having a conversation outside the window, or even rain coming in on the roof. These are little things that make my music feel more organic and more personal and more real. I remember I did a lot of recording in the early years, "Far Beyond These Castle Walls" and "Spanish Train And Other Stories" in a major London recording studio called AIR, which is in Oxford Circus, this is the heart of London's West End. And they used to use the gentlemen's toilets as an echo chamber. What that meant was that we'd feed music through a speaker into that area, which was all made of ceramics and tiles and had an amazing echo to it. And then we'd have a microphone picking up again. These were the days before you could have other more modern techniques of putting reverb and echo onto songs. And quiten often we'd be recording away using this echo area, and somebody would walk in and use the bathroom and you could hear the flushing of the toilet, so you would have to start again. It wasn't much use, that particular section, but they liked to use it for what I have described. And when I was starting in my early years, I used to quite often go into my bathroom at Bargy Castle, one of the echoing rooms there, and sing loudly. It's nice to be surrounded by reverb and echo. And even to this day, I love it when I am in a big venue that has got a lot of echo to it. Because it is less effort for my voice. And most singers hate what we call a dry situation in a theater or a concert hall, where you can't really hear yourself. Apart from your monitors, it seems like you are singing to dead air. So there are unusual places to record, that's for sure!

24th July 2006 - Melinda Reyna-Lovelace (44) from Houston, Texas, USA:

In Texas, we have a saying for newcomers that goes like this..."I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could!" Well, that is rather how I feel relative to your music. Lady in Red and the Ferryman song are of course known in the U.S. The Spaceman song is what has "re-sparked" my interest in your music. What a fabulous song. Anyway, as I came to your site, I am in awe of the depth of your political views. The stories you tell and the lovely and thought provoking lyrics just captivate me. My question is simply this... now that I have "arrived" where do I go from here... where do I start? You have so many albums/CDs that I feel a bit overwhelmed. Which albums might you consider your most challenging spiritually or creatively? Thank you for your time. Blessings to you and your family and to your fans as well. Melinda

Houston, Texas, is a place I have been to in the past quite a bit to do concerts, but that would have been when I was doing American tours in the 80s. A wonderful place and I enjoyed myself there very much. It's great to read such a comment about having discovered my music so late, because it vindicates everything that I set out to do in as much as I never made records to be regarded as disposable after a short time, whether they followed a particular style or tried to be part of a particular kind of a movement. I wanted to do things that were personal to me and that would last, almost like writing songs or making albums that were like books that people could come to in later years. And that's exactly what has happened here to Melinda. And it's great to read such a thing. And it's great to read that she enjoys my thought-provoking lyrics. Many of them do have layers beyond layers, which you can have a bit of fun going deeper into what I am attempting to suggest. Where do you start? Well, I don't know, Melinda. Maybe, rather than starting at the beginning, it might be an interesting thing to start towards the end. I would suggest you have a listen to "The Road To Freedom", and then maybe jump back a few years and try "Into The Light" and have a look at those two and see how there has been quite a change, a transformation in between the years. And then maybe dip into earlier albums like "Spanish Train And Other Stories", because that will establish the pattern that I began with all those years ago and where I've wound up now. And of course "The Storyman" will bring us bang up-to-date, because that is not a reference to what I was doing in the past by any means, but it's just a way of coming back to the style of songwriting that I started with, which is writing stories, allegorical ideas and views that are not only personal to me, but also accessible to other people anywhere in the world. And I would also say those albums that I referred to just now would be the ones that I found probably the most challenging, spiritually certainly. All of them are creatively challenging, but some of them have, I suppose, a bit more stardust attached to them than others.

25th July 2006 - Vern Hines (44) from Auckland, New Zealand:

Well Chris, I thought I was good at marketing, but you did a sensational job at the Mission concert in NZ. I took 8 people down to Napier for the weekend and they all thought you blew the other artist off the stage. Considering they only knew Lady in Red and Don't pay the Ferryman, that's a big wrap. Me personally I was in Heaven. Knowing all the songs and having always thought I'd never see you perform live, it was just a very emotional feeling to be there. I'm writing this 4 days later and still smiling from ear to ear. I do have 2 questions Chris, 1 What were you thinking in how to play to 20,000 people who don't know your music, was it daunting? 2 Did you bring any musicians with you 'cause if you didn't that band was absolutely brilliant (especially Revolution). Well done Chris, thanks for coming and I really hope you enjoyed your stay in NZ. All the best, Vern

Well, I have to say, it's been one of the highlights in my year so far. Not only going to New Zealand for the first time, although I have been to Australia a few times. New Zealand was a real eye-opener for me. I thought it was wonderful. I thought that people were charming and incredibly welcoming and polite. The places that I went to, not only around the Auckland area, were absolutely fascinating. And across the other side of the North Island, in Napier, which is a beautiful town that was devastated in an earthquake in 1931, rebuilt in the Art Deco Style, was really pretty and interesting. And I went there to rehearse with the orchestra, and the band that were all from New Zealand. And weren't they excellent, Vern? The only player that I brought with me was the keyboard player, Peter Oxendale. Because he helped with the conducting of the orchestra, and putting the band and the orchestra together and doing a day's rehearsal with them prior to my turning up. The choice of songs for that particular venue was interesting to me, because I knew a number of things about it. Firstly that there would be more than 20,000 people there. Secondly it was likely to be a hot day and a hot night. And thirdly, by taking part in a concert that was in a winery and people bring picnics, a lot of people would have been extremely, how do we say, cheerful, having drunk a lot of wine during the day and during the evening. And so it proved to be. Everybody was in terrific spirits. And I have liked to think that, as in introduction to my music, it was a broad spectrum of songs to not only bring people a bit more understanding about where I come from, but also musically. My background is not just "The Lady In Red", but also, as you pointed out, "The Revolution". And I must go back into the setlist to try and remind myself what we did, but a lot of the songs were on the album "Beautiful Dreams", because there were orchestra scores with those songs and because there was an orchestra we wanted to use them. I also did, as you may recall, about 40 minutes solo, including a bit where I walked around the audience with the headphones on. And I thought it was just a real blast. I enjoyed myself very much and I thought that the response I got was excellent. Particularly in view of the fact that you were saying about very few people knowing too much about me and my music. And I long to go back to New Zealand.

26th July 2006 - Chris Raymond (54) from Twickenham, UK:

Hi Chris, At time of writing there has been much interest in the 'revival' of ballroom dancing and I believe that even children of school age are being offered lessons. I'm just wondering if you learned to do this sort of dancing? If so, do you enjoy dancing and what is your favourite dance? I'm afraid that I have 'two left feet' when it comes to dancing LOL!! Hope to hear a reply. Many thanks. Chris R xx

The revival of ballroom dancing is very much put down to the celebrity ballroom dancing competitions that are currently on TV. And it looks so elegant, and it is a nice return to a gentler time, I think, when men and women were perhaps differently related. Men were, I think, more polite, more gentlemanly and ladies were indeed that, they were ladies. And watching them at the higher end of their abilities, watching really good dancers, it's just like poetry. And I certainly like to do it, but unfortunately I have never learned ballroom dancing, and I would have to have a partner who is at the same size as me or smaller. But all these other people are extremely tall on TV. So maybe it's something that my daughter in her generation can get into.

27th July 2006 - Padraig Kennedy (21) from Scarborough, UK:

Dear Chris. I have to admit that I am a late-comer to your music but having recently discovered your greatest hits I am quickly becoming a huge fan! I am a music student at Hull (Scarborough campus) and am constantly exploring artists and their niches within genres. My question to you is how do you find the songwriting process and is it a concrete process? I tire of my lecturers getting me to think about the theoretical structures of songs before I write them. When you write music and lyrics, do you have such a methodical way of writing or do you improvise until you find a sound you love? Or am I alone!? Thank you so much for your great music, you are a great inspiration. (PS I can often be found jumping around to 'High On Emotion' - what an uplifting song!)

This is a very interesting question about songwriting! I cannot read music, and I have never felt the urge to read music. But I do understand a huge amount about music, not only through listening constantly to the great musicians from the past, going back even to the 12th century, 15th century music, church music, music from the greats like Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Pachelbel. Moving on to great composers in the 30s and 40s until the modern day. And I still believe that there is a very good balance between knowing a lot about music, perhaps the technical side of music, but more importantly the spiritual, the feeling, the emotional side of music. It's all very well to be brilliant technically, but unless you have got some kind of ability to transfer emotion from your head into your fingers and other people's ears, then I think it's a complete waste of time. This is why computers will never be able to write songs. They write adequate songs. But those ones that really touch people, you know, bring the hair on the back of your arms and what we call in English goosebumps, to bring them to somebody, that is something that only comes from an emotional attachment to what you are doing. And an example of this would be my elder boy Hubie, who has just recently won the music prize in his school. He is not only technically very able, but he is also a wonderful piano and guitar player and singer. Now the thing about him is that he does everything by ear. Although he has the ability to read and write music as well, the composition and thematic work to do with music, but by feeling the music a lot more comes out. That's not to say whether such a person can go on to be a great composer. It's hard to tell at this stage. But nevertheless, I think it's worth remembering, Padraig, that your teachers are right in one respect, but if you want to get any emotion into your music, that has to come from you and it cannot be taught. And that's the way I write. I don't have any particular method, but I give you an example. There's a song that you might want to listen to on my new album, called "Spirit", when it comes out. That took me 5 minutes to write it, because there was such an intense emotion attached to this particular song, that it took me only a few minutes. And then of course a lot of polishing and a lot of work went into the recording process getting it absolutely right. But sometimes it's possible to write songs in very short times indeed, but other times it can take rather a lot longer.

28th July 2006 - Claire (20) from Arras, France:

Hello Chris, are you a manual person? Like the man who "has worked the land with his hands" in "The road to freedom"? Thank you for your music.

Some years ago I wrote a song called "I Will", about somebody going away to an island, away from everything in the world and pressing his hands deep into mother earth, which is a very symbolic thing to do. Because we live from what we grow, and the earth itself supports our lives, which is why nowadays the way we are killing our world is ultimately going to have a devastating effect on life on earth. Not just for humans, but for all living things. And it's us that is causing the problem mainly. So I have an admission to make, going back to something I said earlier about my hands and how aware I am of my hands. It's that although I have many times become involved in manual work, in digging, gardening and farming in my early years. When I became more interested in being a musician, I was much more protective of my hands. Nowadays I don't' do a lot of gardening work or mucky work. But if necessary, from time to time, I do. It's something I prefer to leave to somebody else if possible, but I pitch in, if I need to.

29th July 2006 - Hannelore Mueller (54) from Lohmar, Germany:

Dear Chris! Thanks for answering my previous questions on MOtL. We know that you have got the Tribute-CD 2005 in the meantime (March 2006) and of course we would like to know if you have already listened. I hope there is another Tribute-project and I would like to take part again with a song from "The Road to Freedom" album. But there is no songbook/sheet-music. Can we hope for songbooks of TRTF (Special Edition because of the additional songs) and future albums? Please allow me one more question: Some time ago you talked about a song, dealing with a dried rose in a book. An elderly lady opens the book and sees this rose which she had put in the book years before and it brings back memories. Can we hope to hear this song on the Storyman-album? BTW sometimes I would very much like to discuss with you your answers on MOtL! Lore

Yes, I enjoyed the tribute CD very much. And I hope obviously that people will continue to participate in this great idea. We are also hoping at some stage to have a sheet music songbook to The Road To Freedom album. The story about the elderly lady opening the book and seeing the rose, well, that has re-emerged in a song that will be the title track to the film "Through These Eyes", once the film gets made. And we have high hopes that this will happen in the next year or so. It's just a question of raising the necessary finance. It is a multi million Euro film. Not massive multi million Euros, but certainly enough to spend quite a lot of time having to get the necessary finance together. So hopefully that will occur shortly, and you will be able to hear the song then.

30th July 2006 - Gabi Kuehner (39) from Teningen, Germany:

Dear Chris, many times there are offerings in ebay of gold records or platinum records. They all were offered as unique decoration articles. Lately there are regularly offerings of Chris de Burgh gold records or platinum records, for example of "The Getaway" or "Man on the Line". They all look authentic and really great. They were offered by official agents of Music Memorabilia. They got these items from Rock-Cafes or collectors etc. I remember you wrote in MOtL, that you have all your gold and platinum records at home, on a wall in a memorabilia room. So can you tell me, from where are these discs? I think only the artist/performer owns the originals? By the way: I have all your CDs, I have been your fan since 1984, I have visited every tour since 1984. We sang together in Basel (June 2004) "Save me" during your walk through the audience and I am very happy that you signed the Biography for me at meet & greet in Dortmund. I hope you also enjoyed - with Hubie - the concert and stay in Emmendingen in July 2004. Because I live there. Last year I received the signed photos, I sent to you. Thanks a lot for this. I look forward to seeing you on tour in November / December 2006 here in Germany (Frankfurt, Dortmund, Stuttgart). Thanks for making the world a little bit better. All the best for you and your family, take care. Best wishes from Gabi from Teningen - near Freiburg, Germany

Firstly, I'll deal with the second part of your lovely comments. Yes, it's great to have somebody like yourself as a fan, going way back and that you have enjoyed the music ever since. You also saw my son playing the guitar in July 2004. Just going back to your question about the offering of gold records. These gold records are industry awards to various people involved with the making of a record. They can go to recording studios, they can go to publishing companies, they can go to individuals, they can go to management companies. Of course they can go to the artist. They go to record companies. They are very nice to have, but they are not difficult to make. And if you have a multi million selling artist, they will obviously have quite a few of them. And I have a lot of them hanging now in my home. Having sold 45 million records, I have got quite a few gold and platinum discs. But I am a little puzzled about the ones you are referring to for sale on ebay, because it's not difficult for a company to make these things and they would not have been made at the time of an artist having a successful record. They could be made any time. I personally would be suspicious about buying any of these things, unless I knew the provenance, i.e. the proof of where they came from, whose name is actually on them as regards to "awarded to". You know, usually these records have a name that they have been awarded to, to such and such a person. So, unless they got a name, it sounds me like there is a company just manufacturing these things, so people buy them. I could be wrong though.

31st July 2006 - Ryan (16) from Canada:

Dear Chris, How do you tune a guitar? Because when I play my Acoustic I always get the wrong note. Can you give me some advice? I really like your music. What is the song Lonely Sky about? I would really like to see you in concert. Do you like getting e-mails from fans?

Great. You are 16 years old, you want to play the guitar. It's important to know how to tune. Well, if you are playing a six string guitar, either gut string or 6 steel strings, you tune from the base note, i.e. the thickest string. You go E A D G B E. That is the tuning process. And if you are having a problem, go to a piano or any other musical instrument that you know where the notes are, or get a guitar tuner which you can get in a guitar shop, and that'll help you tune your instrument. Because it sounds to me like perhaps you are just beginning and you need a little assistance. The Lonely Sky song is about France obviously, because it refers to a French cafe and the cathedral of Notre Dame. I remember going there and seeing such a beautiful place, and the Lords and Ladies lying in stone, you know. It's one of my persistent themes of love is forever. It's somebody who is very fond of a girl who is leaving. Maybe they are lovers, maybe he is a guardian, maybe they are just good friends. And he is saying to her "Be careful out there in your lonely sky, and there are people who will try and take advantage of you. And just remember I am always there, flying beside you, wherever you are."

2nd August 2006 - Renae Dewji (45) from Hartford, CT, USA:

Dear Chris, You seem to have a real way with relating your thoughts, opinions, and ideas in response to the questions of your fans on MOtL. Do you find it an easy task to answer the questions, or do the answers come easily to you? With your prolific songwriting I would think that the responses would come easily. Speaking of your lyrics, you really do have a talent! Thanks for all you have to offer to people. As ever, Renae Dewji.

A lovely comment and a lovely question as well! I often feel guilty that I don't spend enough time answering the questions that have come from Man On the Line through the website, because I am so busy and I have been up to my eyes and up to everywhere to be honest with my most recent project. Just the day today, running up things, as I said in an earlier answer. All my children have been involved in very important exams and I wanted to be home to support them and give them encouragement and advice and help whenever necessary. So it's been a fairly stressful time for all concerned. But it's been good to be home. But nevertheless, finding time to answer the MOtL has proved to be difficult in the past. And I am answering this question now only hours before I head off on a holiday, because I would love to get some answers onto the website as soon as possible through the kind help of Astrid. The responses are not difficult, but it makes you think. Each question is unlike virtually any other. It's like doing a series of interviews with different people. And in particular you have to remember the way we do this: I talk into a tape recorder which is then transcribed by Astrid and put on the website. So I am actually talking to myself in an empty room to a tape recorder, trying to collect my thoughts and make my responses as interesting and as informative as I possibly can.

3rd August 2006 - Alex (32) from Pskov, Russia:

Dear Chris, you wrote the best love song I ever heard. Listening them, usually never get into deep, to the very heart if the love doesn't hurt you. But unfortunately, love brings more pain than happiness. What's your experience about the first love?

Alex, your question about love and the first love is as old as time itself. Scientists are beginning to discover why we fall in love. What happens when we fall in love, what happens in our bodies, what kind of enzymes come through, what kind of responses are triggered in the brain. It's not just the sexual response, there's another longing response. And I think all of us have had dreams, when you fall in love with somebody in a dream and you wake up and you feel that ache in your heart. Even if you scarcely know the person or it was just an imagination dream. These things happen to everybody. And I think the ache of love is something that is a 24 hour thing. I referred to this before in one of my answers. It goes back to that wonderful French song, which I'll quote in English "Joy of love is but a moment of love, but pain of love can last a whole life through." It's called Plaisir D'Amour, that's the French song. It's got it absolutely dead right. Love can be one of the most challenging and difficult things in our lives. And certainly writing songs about it is difficult as well, because to make these songs believable you have to do them from the heart. I would say to you though, Alex, that there will be a time when the pain of love becomes less and the joy of love becomes stronger.

4th August 2006 - Babak Fotouhi (17) from Tehran, Iran:

Hi Chris. A short question: what's your favourite season? Thanks, you are the best.

I take another opportunity to say hello to all my fans in Iran. I know I have many many thousands of fans. And trust me, when I say we are doing everything we can to ensure that I come and sing for you some day. It's not that easy as you can imagine. But I have a strong feeling in my heart that I will be there to sing one day. And hopefully one day soon. My favourite season? Well, it's hard to say. I can tell you my least favourite season, which is winter obviously. And I'd say a dark day in February is about my least favourite time to be around in a dark cold country. But I love spring. There is something incredibly exciting about spring. To see things happening all around you. And go away for a week and come back and suddenly see an eruption of growth. And then I suppose my second favourite season would be autumn. Because I think autumn appeals to the melancholy in my soul. And seeing the leaves turning, particularly in dramatic ways, like you see in North America, the maples of Canada, the drive between Montreal and Ottawa around the time when the leaves are turning colour, it's just spectacular. And I must admit I do love the sights and the smells of that particular season as well.

5th August 2006 - Paraic Elliott (33) from Dublin, Ireland:

Hi Chris I've been a fan for a long time now - I got a pressie of Best Moves way back when I was a kid in hospital and when I got out I started collecting your records. I love the new stuff but especially love the album Man On The Line. I know it's a while back but could you tell me a bit about working with Howard Jones? He plays piano on The Head And The Heart, a fantastic song. Thanks Chris, may get to see you in England.

Best Moves, when you were a kid in hospital? That's nice to hear. I hope it got you through your hospital stay. The Man On The Line record was the second one that I recorded with Rupert Hine, having done The Getaway just before that. And the Man On The Line album was recorded in 1984. Howard Jones was one of the artists that Rupert Hine was working with at the time and I was also a great admirer. And I asked Rupert if Howard would be available to play The Head And The Heart. So we did that together live. He played the piano of course and I sang a little way away, and obviously with good eye contact. And I thought he did a phantastic job. And I hope that you'll come and see me in concert some day which incidentally could be sooner than you think, and it won't be in England! It's going to be on September the 23rd in Killarney, if you can make it down there.

6th August 2006 - Barbara (28) from Germany:

Hi Chris, I love your music very much. I'm also a big fan of U2. I'm wondering if you sometimes meet with Bono or Edge, who do live in your neighbourhood in Kiliney, as far as I know? Do you eventually sometimes meet each other in a pub or in your garden for a barbecue? Also your children must almost be in the same age? Did they go at the same college? What do you think about the music of U2? Do you like it? It would be very kind of you to answer to my questions.. All the best from Germany, Barbara

My association and friendship with those guys goes back a long time. Because I started in my career well before they did. And it's a matter of knowledge that they in Germany wanted to break through and become the big stars that they are today. And they opened the show for me 6 times in various big football stadiums in Germany. And I actually have a poster with my name at the top and U2 underneath and REO Speedwagon and Foreigner and those kinds of bands underneath. I remember seeing the first show with U2 and being impressed not only with the music and the rough and ready way that they had of strolling on the stage and creating a very strong reaction with the crowd, but also from Bono's antics of climbing up to the top of the stage, you know, onto the roof. I have never seen a band so keen to be remembered. It was almost like they were screaming at everybody "Don't forget us! We are going to be big. We will be back!" And of course with the machinery of their management company behind them and a very powerful record company, they became the megastars they are today. And deservedly so! I used to live in a place called Dalkey, but I have moved from there. But I would run into people like Edge in the petrol station, or Bono walking along the Vico Road, close to where I used to live. We meet up in social occasions. I don't see too much of Adam Clayton or Larry Mullen, because they live in rather different areas of Dublin than I do. As far as my opinion of their music is concerned, I would say that I as always keep my opinions about most modern musicians to myself, unless I am a huge admirer. But I always thought that their album The Joshua Tree was, I think, probably their best work. But a lot of people would probably disagree with that.

7th August 2006 - Chris and Stephen Wright (21 + 18) from Sandiacre, Nottinghamshire, UK:

Hi Chris, If a film was to be made of your life thus far, who would you like to play the part of De Burgh? Forever fans, Chris + Ste.

This is a question I have never been asked before. I have no idea who would do a good job! It certainly wouldn't be Colin Farrell, but then again maybe there is some young lad full of hope and ambition and strength. And one thing that you had to have, and still have to have if you want to succeed in any business, is the ability to soak up disappointment, the ability to soak up pressure. And the chance to not only look to the future but learn from the past. So I have absolutely no idea who would play me in a film. But it would have to be somebody approximately 5 foot 6 inches with bushy eyebrows and all the rest of the features that I have in my face and body that would make it believable. If you have any ideas, write it into the website! I would love to hear from you.

8th August 2006 - Amadeus (16) from Montreal, Canada:

Here is a great debate where I live, about a line in Patricia the Stripper: "This girl was in her working clothes", and whether this line is said by, a) the judge, or b) the "narrator" of the song. This question is largely unsettled here, and the online lyrics are not all the same and in general are often inaccurate; even the lyrics on this site are unclear since there is an open-quote where the judge starts speaking, but no corresponding end-quote. So it seemed ultimately best to go straight to Chris himself to settle this, once and for all. Many thanks!

Of course Montreal is a city, as everybody knows, that I really adore. I have often spoken about it and the wonderful friends that I have made there down the years. Quick answer: as I said "This girl was in her working clothes", this is the judge dismissing the case. When he says "Case dismissed! This girl was in her working clothes." And he bangs his gavel down on the top of his desk and dismisses the case and says "Right. Throwing the case out of court. See you later, Patricia, in my rooms. She can't be arrested for being in her working clothes." Just a joke and a bit of fun at the time.

9th August 2006 - Gunter Kohl (33) from Trier, Germany:

Hi again, Chris! Some minutes ago I listened to George Michael's "Round here" - a beautiful song about growing up in London. I began to think about songs about towns/cities like "New York, New York" and I noticed that you sometimes mention towns or cities in your songs. But you have not released a song about a town. Can you imagine singing about a town? Which one would it be? Thank you for your answer!

I suppose I have never had a strong association with any particular town or city in the past which is why I have never written about them. And also I have avoided writing songs about specific places, because I prefer people to be able to look at their own situation, their own town or city. I suppose one of the few places that I have referred to would be Paris in "A Rainy Night In Paris", and New York in "The Snows Of New York". I probably have mentioned London, I can't remember. Maybe other people who may have a better recollection of my songs than I do at this point, could remind me if I have mentioned any other cities or towns in the past. So that might be a good thing to ask somebody to come back to me on. I probably would write another song about a town or a city, if it had a big impact on me. I think everybody knows that there are places in the word where I really like to be. One of them would be Munich. I am very fond of Hamburg as well, and Cologne in Germany. Paris in France. And Cape Town in South Africa. And more recently my trip to New Zealand that I have referred to in an earlier question. It will happen one day, but I am not quite sure why and when. Which just reminds me - I have referred to St. Petersburg in my new album, but when it was called Leningrad. So that one is a song to look forward to in the future.

10th August 2006 - Gael Colin (36) from France, living in Croatia:

I am a great fan since 20 years now when I first discovered Spaceman came travelling. Recently I have discovered Kati MELUA and her way of telling stories like you is very interesting. Her last song Spider Web sounds very familiar for a Chris de Burgh fan. Do you know her albums and music? Do you consider a collaboration with her maybe for a single? Thank you for your answer.

Yes, I know Katie Melua quite well. I have one of her records. I think she is extremely talented and unusual. I think that's what made her stand out. There have been an awful lot of female singers/songwriters recently. Norah Jones being one of them for example. What makes Katie Melua stand out is something about the way she writes and sings that makes her different, the way that Dido came through as somebody totally different. Yes, I am a fan and of course I would be interested in a collaboration. I think the interest would also have to come from her, but she seems to be doing pretty well on her own right now.

11th August 2006 - Elke (34) from Duesseldorf, Germany:

Hi Chris! I listen to your music and visit your tours for almost 20 years now. But there is one thing that really made me sad: Why didn't you ever mention Glen after his death? Neither on your albums nor during your show. You spent a long time together. Wasn't he worth it? (By the way, I am his cousin.)

I think as Glen's cousin you are possibly being a little critical of me not having mentioned Glen after his death during my show or on my albums. Well, I think you would have to have been at all my shows to know whether I said anything about Glen or not. And the fact is that I have talked about him a lot in the past. I have mentioned him in concerts and I have talked about him in interviews. And the song on my "The Road To Freedom" album "The Journey" was conceived and inspired initially by his death. It's been a very strange thing. He has appeared in my dreams a lot in the last few years. And he and I are very connected in some way or other. I suppose after a certain point you don't want to keep on referring to the past. But he is still a very strong presence in my life, and I was very fond of Glen. And I can still see him now, with a smile on his face, making wonderful jokes and stories. He was a constant friend and companion for many years. But please don't think that I ignored him in my shows or indeed in my career. This is completely untrue.

12th August 2006 - John Edwards (59) from Pathos, Cyprus:

It's a million to one chance you'll reply to this, but I'll give it a try... First - thanks for the music over the years. Your music has been a comfort to my wife and myself through troubled times, and a joy to listen to all the time. It would be fantastic if you would consider performing here in Cyprus. The warm evenings and fantastic atmosphere performing in one of our splendid ancient outdoor Roman amphitheatres would be a memory everyone, including I'm sure yourself would treasure..... Dream on John! You have mentioned that one day you may "get together" with a smaller more intimate audience in a hotel or something similar - please count my wife and myself in, we would travel anywhere in the world and spend any amount to be in the audience! Finally Chris, I play the guitar and sing in local hotels during the tourist season, and attempt to sing many of your beautiful songs. Now I know how you got started, playing in your parents hotel as a young man, but what fascinates me is that during the early days of your career you opened many shows for (then) big name groups. How did you get such 'wow' factor gigs ? Oh yes, my wife has just asked me to ask you how did you meet your wife? We know how you treasure your private life so understand if you don't answer that question. I'll check back every day for a year to see if this appears on your website - here's hoping! God bless you Chris - and thanks again for the music.

This is a lovely question! Well, John, in answer to your question, yes I have actually performed in Cyprus. It was quite a long time ago, and it was in a football stadium. And I think I probably did two concerts in Cyprus. One in what is called Nikosia, and another one down in the more tourist area in the South East of the country, I believe. And I stayed there for a while. That was in the early 90s. I enjoyed the country enormously. I thought it was wonderful and great fun to be there. And I know that several of my team have been back there for holidays. Unfortunately I haven't been back there more recently than they, but I enjoyed it and I look forward to returning. I am going to be in Greece, which I know is not Cyprus by the way, but I will be in that part of the world in Athens later this year. As far as starting my career, because I was associated with A&M Records, I had the chance to tour with bands like Gino Vannelli, Supertramp and other ones on the label. Because obviously it was in the interest of the record label to get one of their new artists seen and get some exposure for that artist. And obviously when you are starting you accept just about anything that's going. Like in the United States I played with a lot of bands, including a hard rock guy called Eddie Money who was charming and great fun to be with. Peter Frampton who had a huge hit with "Frampton Comes Alive". We were playing big venues then. And the Climax Blues Band, all sorts of people. America was another band I have performed in front of. But you gotta take what's coming. And when you are starting, you've got to do just anything you possibly can to get known. And I met my wife because she is the sister of a very dear friend of mine. And we met in college when we were hanging out with the same group of people.

13th August 2006 - Steven Smith (34) from Congleton, UK:

A while ago I was undergoing major knee surgery to my left knee - an old footballing injury from when I played professionally. While I was recoupering in my bed, I was listening to one of your songs I have in my collection - I have every single CD, album and single ever released. This song made me close my eyes and think of playing football again - which the doctors said would not be able to happen under any circumstances. The song in question was called The Head and The Heart. Amazingly, some 3 months later, I was listening to this song again while in the garden with my children and I managed to kick a ball and play a small game of footy with my kids. This was an amazing thing as I had never been able to do this since my injury. I firmly believe that this song made it possible for me to play again, at a lesser level than before, but it was down to you that this happened. Do you believe in amazing things like this and has anything ever happened to you that is similar? Also, I am going to your Amsterdam concert in December of this year, 2006. I was wondering if you could sing this song for me as it would be a special night coming all the way from Cheshire, England and hearing my favourite song. Thanks and take care.

I find your question very interesting indeed, about how pieces of music can uplift the spirit and give the healing process a chance to kick in and help the body recover. I know there are a lot of medical practitioners around who say that the mind and the brain can control a huge amount of the body and its functions, its healing processes. The releases of endorphins, of serotonins, of feel-good hormones that come into the body. If you are feeling depressed about things, you are more likely to have your immune system lowered. I think a positive attitude is incredibly important. And I think certainly sights and sounds and smells can help as well. I have heard this before about music and about how it can really assist people in becoming positive. A positive frame of mind will definitely help somebody heal quicker. I am delighted to hear that you, Steven, listened to "The Head And The Heart", and that gave you some kind of strong feeling about healing yourself and, you know, going into your own brain and encouraging the active parts of your body that are internally in all of us to fight against infection and help the recovery process and help to get over injuries. And it's lovely to hear that you are playing football with the children again. So, on a personal note, I would say that probably any time that I have hurt myself or hurt my back or whatever it happens to be, banging your finger. I think, if you have a positive frame of mind, and you send messages to all those little fighters in your body, the healing cells that can go and help, just send them to the place where you need the help, and I actually do believe it works. A simple way of discovering whether this is happening or not is if you have a small pain, say in your toe, concentrate on it and immediately it'll start throbbing, which means that your brain is connecting with that part of your body and is sending certain signals. And I think if you send healing signals, it will help you to recover quicker.

5th October 2006 - Cliff Cherry (24) from Johannesburg, South Africa:

Hi Chris, I think your work is outstanding and I have enjoyed your music since I was a teenager. I wanted to ask about the song, "There's room in this heart tonight" from Timing is Everything. What is the story behind the song? It almost seems there are two characters in the song and it seems to have a very deep meaning behind the fact that it could just be two people singing a love song to each other. Can you please give me some insight into the meaning of the song? Thanks so much.

Hi Cliff! I have always enjoyed my trips to South Africa. I have been there many times and always received a very warm and affectionate welcome. Going to your question about "There's Room In This Heart Tonight", this is actually originally a song that I started when I was asked to be involved with a charity appeal in England. And a bit of the song was used in that programme some years back. But I renovated the song and had another look at it, and it's basically about saying to somebody who is in distress, in trouble: "I can hear you crying in silence." And there's an irony of course about "I can hear you" and then "crying in silence". It's for those people in the world who feel that there is nobody listening to them, or listening out for them and it's to try and say to those who are in distress, in trouble, that there is always somebody who will hear you. And I am not suggesting that it's me. But I'm saying even if it's a God for example or a parent or lover, somebody is looking out for you. And I am trying to make the suggestion that none of us really is completely alone. It is not a story at all about two characters in the song, it's much broader than that. And I am glad you enjoy it.

6th October 2006 - Sabine (38) from Germany:

Dear Chris, About 20 years ago I bought my first Chris de Burgh album. It was "Best Moves". I loved your songs the first time I heard them and since that time I am always looking forward to the next album that will be released. But as time goes by I am starting to wonder if there will be a day coming when you say it is time to retire. I really do hope that this day will never come! Greetings from Frankonia. I am looking forward to your concert in Munich this year. Sabine

Will the time come for me to retire? Well, I am not ready yet! I have always said that I'll go when nobody wants to hear me singing anymore and nobody is interested in coming to my concerts and nobody wants to buy the records. I think a lot of, for example, sportsmen in those kinds of sports like football or rugby or perhaps even cricket, where you have to be pretty young and pretty fit to compete at the top level, and a lot of those people always know when it is time to go. For example recently Andre Agassi playing in Flushing Meadows in New York had a very emotional good-bye to all his fans in New York, because in his mid-thirties he realized he could not compete with the younger, fitter men. But he realized that the best way to go is when you're at the top. I suppose in my profession it is slightly different, because the skills that I have mean that I can carry on writing all sorts of music, even if I am not making records and performing live concerts all over the world. There was a time within the last three or four years that I was thinking, well, the record I was about to make would be my last. But I have had such fun writing and recording "The Storyman", that I think this could be a project for the future, where we could have "The Storyman Part 2", "The Storyman Part 3", if it proves that people like the idea. So you never know I might be around for a lot longer to come!

7th October 2006 - Thomas Schilb (38) from Tallahassee, Florida, USA:

Here we go again, every few days the news shows more missing children and it usually never ends up good. 2 little girls stabbed to death by one of the girl's father in a town called Zion of all places, how ironic. On top of that 2 girls in the last few months loosing their life right here in Florida. I am fed up with this. WAKE UP PEOPLE, DON'T YOU KNOW HOW PRECIOUS THE LIFE OF A CHILD IS!!! I feel helpless but I feel like there is more we can do. Some of your songs have hopefully eased the pain for those who have lost a young loved one and I thank you for "Little Angel" and "A Child Is Born." My question is what is your opinion to help reduce or even stop this attack on our innocence. I pray everyone else is as outraged as I am. Some of my friends say string them up in the town square and make a real example out of them by public lynching. I hope we don't have to resort to this, but it may be the only deterrent to stop this. I feel like a part of me dies every time something like this happens. Please share with us your thoughts. Thank You and also thank you for all your songs about your children and the way a father should feel for his precious young ones.

Well, Thomas, I know exactly what you mean. The outrage particularly parents feel about attacks on young children, and the recognition that all life is precious, but there is something even more precious about preserving and protecting the life of a child. And those of us who are parents know, as I have said before, for the first time when you hold your child in your arms, you know that you can kill somebody, if anybody ever harmed that child. As you have pointed out I have written stuff like "Little Angel" and "A Child Is Born" (well, it is called "The Simple Truth"). The charities I support are almost invariably to do with children and giving them the best possible start in life. I am a complete softie when it comes to sick children. And anything to do with children, for example in a film or on TV, I can often be seen with tears in my eyes and emotionally reacting to their innocence, their beauty, and indeed if they are in trouble. There is something absolutely and utterly precious about the life of a child and we should do everything as a community to preserve and protect. I have strong feelings about paedophilia for example and I am amazed that society and the judicial system in some ways have been so soft on child pornographers, paedophiles and those who harm and exploit small children. I have no idea why these people are not only put away in prison for a very long time, but the option of chemical castration has to be one that we look at very seriously. And I think certainly those people who have spoken eloquently about what it's like to be a parent of a child who has been abused, they would probably agree with that. All I know is that now that my children are grown up, they are hopefully past that danger zone. But I remember thinking a few years ago that if anybody touched my child in an inappropriate way or threatened or hurt them, I would be the first person to get around to that man's house for the baseball bat and seek some kind of revenge and retribution. I am not saying that it's a good thing to do that, but as an emotional response I am afraid that is probably what I would do and what I would have done. And I don't blame anybody for taking that view. Although we must all stay within the law, sometimes the law protects the perpetrator of a crime and not necessarily the victims.

8th October 2006 - Amir Flaishman (31) from Tel Aviv, Israel:

Hi there Chris, my question is this: After selling so many albums and achieving a lot of worldwide success (millions of fans, actually seeing money out of your own creations), where do you take your "Drive?" from? I mean, how do you keep yourself motivated to create the next album or do the next tour? What kind of tips can you share with young artists that have problems of being so disciplined with the creation process? Thanx!

Thank you for suggesting that my success is based on energy and drive. I suppose I refer back to the words of the two men Hilary and Tensing, who were the first men to conquer Mount Everest. And when asked, why did they do it, they said because it was there. And for me it is the same feeling. Because I can do this, because I can sing and write songs, and because I can share something and hopefully transmit a feeling of love, passion, of excitement or whatever it is, that I pass on through my music. This is basically what keeps me going. In answer to your question what to say to a young artist who has problems being so disciplined, I would offer this tip: If you are a live performer who wants to become better, imagine yourself standing outside your own concert hall after the evening is finished and listen to what the people have just said. And seeing their faces. Are they walking out really excited, saying "that was fantastic"? Or are some people leaving early, saying "that wasn't very good"? You've got to put yourself in the shoes of the people who are coming to your concerts. And indeed when it comes to songwriting, you have to be disciplined. You have to keep an eye on what it is you are attempting to achieve. And mostly be aware that you are trying to convey your music not just to your friends and your acquaintances who will mostly likely say "that was really good", even if it wasn't. You are trying to appeal to people across the other side of the world, who have never heard of you and are likely just to hear something off the radio or maybe on television. These are the people you are trying to touch. And the only way to do that is with strength and energy and conviction and commitment.

9th October 2006 - Marieke (21) from The Netherlands:

I always enjoy listening to your music so much. If my day was a disaster I come home and relax with one of your CD's. Everything feels alright after that again. Even if my friends don't understand why I am listening to this kind of calm music because I'm young, but I think this music is timeless. Yes, I have a question. What does Wellahiya stand for in "This waiting heart"? And Chris...thank you for making me feel better with your music.

This is a lovely question and indeed comment about coming home to listen to my music and relax. Thank you for telling me that. And obviously sometimes that I have done has connected with you and feels right. I think age has got very little to do with it, although I must admit that an older musician like me is often very happily surprised to find that young people, even a lot younger than you, Marieke, like ages in their 6, 7 and 8 years old, they like what I am doing. And I am hoping that "The Storyman" will also appeal to these young people too. Music touches people in so many different ways and helps them through different situations or makes them feel excited or makes them want to dance and move, or makes them want to be reflective, contemplative or maybe even sad. Music can touch you in so many different ways, and I think it's a wonderful way of getting in touch with yourself and your inner emotions by listening to good music. My personal preference is often for classical music, for old music from the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries. Choral music, I love that kind of stuff. The word "Wellahiya" in "This Waiting Heart" is just I wanted to create the idea of a group of men right at the start, as if they are rowing a boat. And "Wellahiya", it might be just a native greeting like we have, you know "How are ya?" and "How are ya doing?", that's what I had in mind.

10th October 2006 - Julia (55) from Melbourne, Australia:

Hello Chris, I was wondering if you have ever had your portrait painted?

I have a very strong feeling, although there is no surname with this, that you are the Julia who I met when I did my concert in Melbourne earlier this year. And I think you also came with your husband to take a holiday around Ireland and your very good friend from Australia asked if I ring you. And I did actually ring a number, but I just left a message. So I hope you had a good time in Ireland and that the weather was kind, because this summer was pretty good, certainly in the earlier part in June and July. I haven't officially had my portrait painted, but a lot of people have sent me pictures of me. And some of them are terrific, and some of them are not so good. But I think the important thing is to have the energy and inspiration to want to paint a picture of somebody. I have had my head sculpted in bronze, but I have never had my portrait painted. So who knows, maybe I'll get round to that one day.

11th October 2006 - Astrid Nolde-Gallasch (39) from Rösrath, Germany:

Dear Chris, the website of Gema (the German copyright organization) offers a repertoire search tool, where one can search for all copyrighted works by author. By doing a little research I found some non-published songs from you, which according to the registration number would have been written around the time of The Getaway album. The names of the songs are "She's making a meal outa me", "Country Boy" (aka "Country Girl"), "Why Did You Leave America?" (aka "Early Morning Sunshine"), "Silky Sunday Morning", "Children Of Time" and "Flow Sweet River". Can you tell us more about these songs? Have they ever been recorded? And if yes, why were the recordings never published? Thanks, Astrid :)

Well, this is a question from Astrid! Hi Astrid! Interesting what you are saying about Gema, because obviously these songs that I wrote many years ago were put into a publishing company catalogue. So at least if somebody got hold of them, I could prove that I was the writer. The ones you refer to were actually as I recall written quite a long time before "The Getaway" album, probably even before I started recording "Far Beyond These Castle Walls". The titles like for example "She's making a meal outa me", "Country Girl" were done, I would say, in about 1972 or 1973. The same with "Why Did You Leave America" and "Silky Sunday Morning", "Children Of Time". "Flow Sweet River Flow" I think I must have written about the time of the "Spanish Train And Other Stories" album. They have never been recorded except in demo form. And probably the reason why they never wound up on a record is maybe they weren't very good. Like anything in the creative world, you have to spend a bit of time learning your craft, learning your art and learning to get good at what you are doing.

12th October 2006 - Christopher (Douglas) Davison (36) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada:

On a whim I did a google search on my name and found that we actually have that in common (I go by Chris mostly), which is very cool because I have been a fan for many years. I was wondering: How did you come to acquire Chris de Burgh as your stage name?

Christopher Davison! This is amazing! You're from Halifax. Of course those of you who live in Halifax already know that I am extremely fond of your town and very interested in the history. Been there many times! Been to the Maritime Museum many times, been up to the Citadel. Every time I go there I usually stay in a hotel "The Delta" on Barrington Street. And I am sure regular readers know that I am very fond of a book called "Burden Of Desire" which is a very interesting story about the huge explosion that took place in Halifax in, I believe it was 1915 December. I could be corrected on this, but I think it was December the 5th or December the 6th. It was the biggest man made explosion ever on the planet, and the next one anywhere near as big or indeed bigger was the atom bomb explosions on Nagasaki in Hiroshima. It happened in the harbour of Halifax in a place called the Narrows, where two boats collided. One of them was carrying armaments which were intended to go across the Atlantic to the First World War. And after the collision a fire broke out and the explosion virtually flattened the whole of one end of Halifax. And many people who had been looking out of the window that Sunday morning in December, who were looking out at the fire raging on the ship, were blinded by the glass. Because the shockwave of the explosion hit before the explosion itself arrived. A lot of them were blinded by the glass that they were looking through in the windows. Anyway, the book is terrific. Getting back to your question, this is the third time I have come across somebody called Christopher Davison. The other time was in South Africa. It was quite a famous golfer called Chris Davison, and I had the pleasure of walking with him around a golf course in Durban, South Africa, some years back. And seeing his name on the leader board, and for a moment I was dreaming that could have been me doing well on the golf tour. De Burgh is my mother's family name. And some time after I decided to try having a go at the music business, I thought I'd change my name to my mother's family name because it's kind of different and interesting. One of those names you might have difficulty remembering the first time round, but once you have got it, you don't forget. So Chris de Burgh is who I have remained and most people know me as him and not as Christopher Davison. Although people now know my daughter as Rosanna Davison. And it's quite funny when people say "how can she be your daughter, when your name is Chris de Burgh", so I have to explain.

13th October 2006 - Chris Raymond (53) from Whitton, Twickenham, UK:

Hi Chris, I have a ticket to see Neil Diamond at the N.E.C. in Birmingham but don't worry 'cause there's no way that I'll abandon you ;-) ... There is a "warning" on the ticket which says "PEOPLE AROUND YOU MAY STAND UP FOR THIS CONCERT". So I'm wondering - couldn't your Management arrange to have something similar printed on your tickets in the future so that those of us who love to stand up won't have to wait right until the end? I have to say that I've had people around me at some of your Concerts who didn't much like me showing my appreciation (far too noisy!!) much less standing up! This warning idea might be a good solution so that the 'Bums on seats brigade' would be prepared and not complain. I know that you like your Concerts to be lively! What do you think? Hope you enjoy this question! Thanks. Chris R

This is from Chris Raymond, who has graced these pages before with interesting questions. I have never seen that before on a ticket "People around you may stand up for this concert". The next thing you may see on tickets might be "Warning: People may leave this concert early!". Or indeed I know that in America in some states the law says that on tickets "some or all of this performance may be previously recorded". That means that people are miming on stage and I think that is a very good thing. However, I like the idea of printing what you are saying on the ticket about people may stand up for this concert, because I think it encourages people to get up and have a good time! So this is something that I should definitely bring to the attention of my team.

14th October 2006 - Mert Ener (24) from Istanbul, Turkey:

Hi Chris! I have got two questions about the song "Separate Tables". First of all I have to mention that, it is a very poetic and emotional song. "At separate tables we sit down to eat, In separate bedrooms we go to sleep at night". Even this sentence can summarize a life of a couple, alone. What feelings can lead a man to write these lines as adroit as a poet? How are your feelings about this song? My second question is, in the song there are some French lyrics at the very beginning. What are they and what do they mean? Thanks God for your romance!

This is a song, when I was writing, I was thinking of a couple who have perhaps had a violent argument and now are living separate lives, but they can't get each other out of their heads, as often is the case. And towards the end of the song he is suggesting that even if he writes a letter, he is hoping that the girl he is longing to see again will read between the lines and just forget about all their fighting and all their difficulties and troubles, because he really is missing her. And you can imagine, if this was a movie, as I often do imagine things in movies, two apartments, where they are both lonely, both longing to be together again. But too much pride is preventing each from picking up the phone and saying "Listen, I'm sorry.". Nowadays people do this kind of thing by text messaging or e-mail, but that is for me as a false emotion. What really needs to happen at "Separate Tables" is one of them needs to pick up the phone and say "Look. Life is too short for arguing. Let's just put all this behind us." And at the beginning of the song its French words were "Darling, I miss you so much and I am thinking about you tonight." Words like that. I haven't got a translation in my head, but of course it was me speaking French, because that is a language I love very much.

15th October 2006 - Wendy from Scotland:

Hi Chris, It's me I've just read your response to a question and your comments about how much you hate smoking. I have never smoked but understand it can be really difficult to give up. I read in ' A spark to a flame' that you used to smoke, how did you manage to give up? And did you notice an improvement in your voice afterwards? Any suggestions for other who want to quit?? Keep up the great work and hope to see you in concert again soon. Wendy

Hi Wendy! Thanks for your question about smoking. Yes, I think when I was a student, for a year or so, I took up the wicked weed, because everybody else was. And what an appalling reason to take it up! But peer pressure is difficult to avoid sometimes, and I'm very embarrassed and ashamed that I kind of gave into that. I didn't really enjoy the smoking very much, but it didn't take long before I realized that this was really bad for me. You have to remember, when I was in my teens and early twenties, the real dangers of smoking had yet to be either discovered. Or if they had been discovered, certainly the tobacco companies weren't telling people. Nowadays a lot of youngsters growing up are revolted by cigarette smoking, and they don't like the smell on people's breath. Certainly in my country in Ireland, it's been such a breakthrough and a relief to be able to go out to a restaurant or a pub and not having to breathe other people's smoke in. I think it's catastrophic for the health. And I've read extraordinary claims by doctors and medical experts that it can take 15 years of your life. And you know, we only get the one life in this particular shape and form. What is the point of poisoning your body? But even worse, in my opinion, poisoning other people around you! It's extraordinary, when I am in Europe and I am in a restaurant or something like that, in a public place and I have to breathe other people's smoke in, I just absolutely hate it. And I hate the feeling in the morning, you've been thick in the head and coughing a lot, and just your clothes smelling of smoke. And I know a lot of people enjoy this habit and it is extremely difficult to give up. But it's not like heroin or something. I think, if you want to give up, you have to be strong-minded. And nowadays there are all sorts of different ways to give up and a lot of people have come up with different systems to help people give up. Hypnosis being one of them for example.

16th October 2006 - Elke Groß (32) from Germany:

Hello Chris, in your song "The last time I cried" you sing the words Eli Eli Lama. What does it mean? I hope you'll go on writing so wonderful music. Best wishes from Elke

For me this is in my particular top 20 of what I feel are the most important and best songs personally that mean a lot to me. Because I had such a strong vision of a man 50 years after the Second World War, watching a video or a DVD about that time and looking at the atrocities. And as he watches the flickering images on the screen, his own child is asleep in his arms. And there is a scene where the soldiers are herding people onto a train. And suddenly he goes cold, because there, just about to be pushed onto the train is a small child who looks absolutely identical to his own child. And he freezes the frame and holds it. And then as he fast forwards on, he realizes that the soldier who has pointed a gun at the child looks exactly like him. And a point of the song is that the people who performed these atrocities were not people who were brought up in like savages in the woods, they were ordinary human beings like you and I, who then for a number of complex reasons become these barbaric and brutal killers. And that was the point of that song. I wanted to also draw attention to the last words of Christ on the cross, which allegedly were "My Lord, My Lord, why have you forsaken me?", because if you look at what happened to the Jews during the Second World War in the holocaust, I find it extremely ironic that they were calling for their God to save them, for our God, the Christian God, in the same way and possibly the same language that Christ himself used to call upon his Father to save him while he was dying on the cross. It's for me, I hope it is accurate for those people who speak Hebrew. But as I understand it from my research, this is pretty close to what was allegedly said on that terrible day when Christ was crucified.

17th October 2006 - Ian McDonald (41) from Surrey, BC, Canada:

Hi Chris, thanks for answering all my questions, it's almost like having a slow moving conversation with you. As my Dad was from Liverpool, and you and I are such big supporters of the team, have you ever thought of recording "You'll Never Walk Alone"? Either as part of an album or perhaps as a fundraiser. Our local hockey team runs a hospice for terminally ill children called Canuck Place. Maybe if Liverpool supports a charity that would be a great way for them to raise some money. Either way, I bet you would sing it great. Also have you ever seen the movie Carousel that the song was written for? It is one of my favourites. I know Canada is a big place but I hope to see you in Vancouver on your next Canadian tour, 18 years is a long time ago!!!

Hi Ian! Yours is a very familiar name to me. It's a pleasure to answer your questions. As you know, I am extremely fond of Canada and I am very sorry I haven't been able to make it to the Western section of Canada for a while. But I do intend to return again to Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Calgary, Edmonton and of course one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver. Whenever I go to Anfield to watch Liverpool play, or when I went to the Champions League final in Istanbul, or the FA Cup final in Cardiff, we always sing as loudly as we can "You'll Never Walk Alone". Because it is a wonderful anthem. And yes, of course I have seen Carousel, and I know that is where the song came from. I haven't actually recorded it properly, but I have sung it many times with the original singer Gerry of Gerry And The Pacemakers. And I recorded a version of it for film, which was shown on TV a few days before the Champions League final last year 2005. It certainly is one of my favourites. And during the playback of the song, when they have it at the football stadium in Liverpool, the DJ always stops it just towards the end, so you can just hear the crowd singing it. And it definitely gives you shivers up your spine, when you hear all those thousands of people singing this beautiful melody.

18th October 2006 - Jacqueline Ebner (47) from Erskine, Scotland:

Hello again Chris, I am always singing as I go about my daily business, much to the amusement of family, friends and colleagues. Do you sing in this way or do you 'save' it for composing or recording. Many thanks, love Jacqueline xx

Hi Jacqueline! I know you love the way I say your name with that silky French accent. So, if you were here, I would say "ello Jacqueline". It was nice to see you with your friends during the summer, and I hope we meet again soon. Yeah, I tend to wander about singing. Usually when there is nobody around. But sometimes people can hear me. I tend to sing in the car. I like to do that, and apart from that it keeps the voice in a good fluid way and it's good to keep breathing correctly, because singers have to breathe properly. Yes, I am always wandering about singing. I wonder what you sing to your family, friends and colleagues!

20th October 2006 - Ian Durrant (45) from London, England:

Chris. I don't have much success with the ladies. The ladies seem to love you. What is your secret?

If I didn't know any better, I would be smiling to Ian and saying "I wonder, if this is a bit of a set up question". But if it's genuine, I will respond to it. But if it's a set up, I will also respond to it in a slightly different way. However, there is no secret. Nobody in the history of the world can actually point how you have success with the ladies. I think everybody is different, every woman is looking for something slightly different in a man. Sometimes they are looking for that big, physical, tough, burly, strong, hairy-chested, hairy-under-the-arm-pits kind of a guy. Other women like a more sensitive, gentle, yet sort of inner strength kind of a man. It's almost impossible to say, Ian. However, maybe the best thing is, if you and I sit down and have a pint of beer together. I could give you a few tips and pointers. But I certainly don't go out of my way to try and attract the ladies. I suppose, it is part of being a famous person that you get a lot of attention. And I have to say I do enjoy it, there is no question about it. But as far as your own situation is concerned, I wish you the best of luck and don't forget for every lonely man there is always a lonely lady out there too. So I am sure there are many people who would love to meet you some day.

21st October 2006 - Jose Guerrero (38) from Gilroy, California, USA:

I get the impression from many of your songs that you enjoy science fiction. If so, which authors and/or stories do you enjoy most?

Well, I do enjoy science fiction. But I like the kind of science fiction that doesn't take me to weird sounding places thousands of years in the future. I much prefer the more believable, possibly closer to the truth sorts of science fiction. In particular I would point the finger at Isaac Asimov who wrote a breathtaking book called "Childhood's End" amongst others and various trilogies that I enjoyed very much. And also Arthur C. Clarke, the man who wrote my favourite film of all time "2001 - A Space Odyssey". And he has written many wonderful books. So I can recommend to readers of MOtL, that if you want to start into science fiction, start with the greatest of the lot, in my opinion. And you should enjoy what they have written.

22nd October 2006 - Toni Jehan (42) from Felixstowe, Suffolk, UK:

Hi Chris! I hope you and yours are well. I have a question for you. I know you are aware that I'm a bit of a deep thinker!! Have you ever felt an affinity to a certain period in time, to the extent that you feel you may have lived in that time before? I've had regressions done under hypnosis, would you consider this? Lots of love, Tonixx

Hi Toni! I hope you are in good form. And thank you for all those years of sending me your amazing stories and poems, which I have always thoroughly enjoyed. And I hope to receive more of them. I know you are a deep thinker. I know you are a very emotional person with strong beliefs about the various dimensions around us. And I have to tell you, I do share those beliefs. As far as affinities to certain periods in time, I would point at two particular ones, where I have an extraordinary emotional affinity to. The first one would be back in medieval times. I would say the 12th and 13th centuries, in England. Ok, they were not romantic or wonderful times, far from it, they were very tough and cruel times. But for some reason I feel drawn there. And I also feel extremely drawn to the era of the First World War, 1914-1918. I have read a lot about regression, and indeed you yourself have told me quite a bit about it as well. I have never tried it, perhaps I am a little scared. But then maybe I should learn something about myself that I didn't know. But I am certainly convinced about previous lives, and little echoes and deja-vus that we all have on a regular basis. And I am sure scientists will attempt to explain why these things happen. I prefer to go down the other route, which is what if the scientists are not correct and what if there is another dimension around us. I'll leave you with this one little thought: If you take a very humble living creature like a slug, it is completely and utterly unaware of us until you actually step on one or run over one. In the same way why do human beings think that we have such a grasp of everything that goes on around us, all the aural dimensions, all the physical dimensions, all the visible areas that we can see. What we don't know is if there is something else beyond that, that we are completely and utterly unaware of like that unfortunate slug.

23rd October 2006 - Susan Anneveldt (44) from The Netherlands:

Hi, Chris! How wonderful to be able to interact with you and read your personal comments to our questions. I have been a fan of yours since the late 1970s, when I lived in South Africa (I have moved around a lot in my life, and know you can relate to that yourself!) and have seen you in concert several times. I last saw you in concert last November, in The Hague, and thoroughly enjoyed the "solo-ness" of it. I have always especially liked the songs you have done which have historical themes, as I am a very keen (amateur) historian and genealogist. Years ago, I read in a German magazine that you were related to Richard the Lionheart. I imagine it is via the de Burghs? I guess we are very distant cousins, as I descend from Richard's brother John. Is your ancestral heritage a driving force in any way when you deal with history in your music? Can you feel a literal link in some way to the past?

Thank you for your comments about following me and my music all these years, through South Africa and up to The Hague concert, which I remember very well from last year during my solo tour. Although I am involved in a tour now with the band, there is something that is kind of new and different, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the solo concerts, because it is a chance to really connect with the audience on a very intimate and personal level. The historical themes that arise in my songs come from my deep interest in history. And on "The Storyman" album, there are of course tracks that take us from the 1st century AD through to the 18th and the 20th century, the 15th century, all these areas of historical interest. Because it's hard sometimes in our 21st century, the rush of life, to remember that we are only here because ancestors lived through much grimmer and more difficult times. It's like they have laid the cobblestones of all the roads that we have walked on. Looking back into history, you can see what has been created to allow us to come to as far as we are right now. This is the respect I have for history, for architecture, for art, for music. Recently I listened to an absolutely stunning piece of music that was written in the 13th century. That is amazing, when you think about the abilities of our forefathers. And again recently I went to see an exhibition in Dublin's National Museum, where there were items on display in Gold for example, absolutely gorgeous jewellery that was crafted in 300 years before the birth of Christ. By our ancestors, people who created beautiful objects, for adornment or else for protection against evil spirits, but these people were not idiots. They didn't have the abilities that we have today. And let us not forget that sooner or later the era that we are living in will be scoffed at 1000 years hence, if human beings are still on the planet, for being very backward. So it is all relative. The connection with Richard The Lionheart, I am actually not very certain of. I don't think it is a family connection. I think the connection comes from the first king of Jerusalem Baldwin de Burgh, who fought with Richard The Lionheart during one of the crusades. And was given the gold shield with the red cross as the de Burgh family crest which we have to this day. Richard's brother John, King John, had as his chief justiciar, it's like the chief lawmaker in England, a main character in Shakespeare's play of the same name "King John", his name was Hubert de Burgh. He was a good guy, because at one point he refused to blind the young prince in the tower of London and actually let him go free. Worth having a look at that play, just to see the activities of Mr. Hubert de Burgh.

24th October 2006 - Ilka Göpfert (34) from Almersbach, Germany:

Hi Chris, during the last rainy weekend I was going over my LPs and CDs and found one of Franz Benton. I had to think a bit about where it came from and where I knew Franz Benton, but then I remembered that he was once the supporting act at one of your tours in the eighties here in Germany, and as far as I know, Daryl Braithwaite also. And now I wonder if you still keep contact to these guys who have worked with you long ago, if you still keep track of their way. What was the reason for you to choose for example Franz Benton as a supporting act? And why did you stop to use supporting acts? Don't you think it's a great chance (and a great luck of course!) for rather unknown artists to be "pushed" by you? There must be a wide range of artists... or perhaps a too wide range? Thanks for answering all our questions and keep it up! Big hugs, Ilka

I have to tell you that the years that I spent as an opening act gave me enormous respect for what it's like to be the first person performing in a concert. How difficult it is and the tough time you have with an audience and how you are trying to fight your corner all the time and prove something to the people out there and basically create a fan base for yourself. The two that you mention, Franz and Daryl, were both excellent musicians. And any time I have had an opening act during my shows, I have always had a chance to listen to their music beforehand, basically to think is this going to work, not only for me personally, but also will it be nice for my audience to listen to before the show. And I was in Australia this year, and I wanted very much for Daryl to open up a concert for me, but unfortunately he was unable to do it, he had another commitment. But nowadays I have got so much material, I don't need an opening act and I think the only time when you have to have one is when the people who own the venue where you are performing insist on having an opening act, so that there is a break, so that people can go out and spend money on their merchandise and their drinks. I prefer just to do the whole thing myself these days. That's not to say if I come across somebody who is really worthy of support, then I won't put somebody on with me, maybe during the show or a little bit before the show. And it does happen from time to time. But generally speaking, I don't keep in touch with them, because they are off doing their own thing in their own careers.

25th October 2006 - Kambiz Shakavosi (31) from Iran, now in Canada:

Hi Chris, I love your music and your king sound. Now I'm in Canada and I'm waiting for you in November. I have one question..what do you think about same sex marriage? That's free in Ontario. I think god made men and women to be married together, not with the same sex. What is your opinion?

This is a very difficult question to answer, because same sex marriages have become fairly common in various countries around the world and have actually also had a very powerful reaction against them in other places. There are people who will say it's unnatural, it's wrong. There are other people who are saying well, what's the harm? I must admit, personally I do draw the line at same sex marriages perhaps bringing up children or fostering children. I think that can cause problems for the child in later years, although it must be nice for the couple to have a child around the place, knowing that they can't physically have one together. But I think that will cause huge problems for that child in later life. That's my opinion. Whether it's true or not, I have no idea. Only time will tell. A very interesting remark I once read was made by a homosexual who said to a heterosexual "when did you decide to become a heterosexual?". And the answer was of course "Never. This is the way we are." I know people who are happily married, people who suddenly realize that there is this inner voice inside that is telling them this isn't where they want to be. You can't criticize people for living their lives the way they want to, and you must as in all things, in religion especially, be tolerant of other people's beliefs and desires. I think we can all co-exist on this planet happily together.

26th October 2006 - Monika Maid (48) from Ingolstadt, Germany:

Hello Chris de Burgh, I'm pleased to see that you can read my message in your guestbook via Internet. Just at the ending of my day I'm thinking about you. I have never seen an answer to one of my first questions in your MOTL site, but I would really like to see one answer from you to my following question: Chris, what do you do when you are stressed through an audience or from the long ways on a journey and how can you help yourself to become quiet and relaxed again to do your work again? This is really a question which I would like to be answered through you. Perhaps you could help me this way, because I cannot sleep since I'm learning more and more English with your websites. Good luck for seeing my question and for the answer. Greetings Monika

Hi Monika! I know that you keep in touch regularly with the website and I thank you for your question. Being on tour is often very tiring and stressful, and travelling too. It's funny, at the beginning of a long tour you think about all the things that you are going to be doing and as the tour goes on your energy begins to become depleted and you have less energy. And after a few months on tour, you really just concentrate your day on what you have to do in the evening, doing the concert. And I may start off with great ambitions about being a great tourist and looking at the museums around the cities where I go to, but now I find I have to nowadays restrict myself to just walking and keeping fit and really holding my energy for the concert at night. I have become good down the years at what we call a power nap. That means being able to go to sleep for about 10 or 15 minutes during the day. That moment when you suddenly feel really exhausted, I find a quiet spot and put my head down, close my eyes and drift off to sleep and it refreshes me enormously. It makes me feel a lot better and stronger for the rest of the day and for the night.

27th October 2006 - Rachel Ratcliffe (35) from Chester, England:

I love all your music, but was wondering why you never sing any of the songs from the album Far beyond these castle walls. Having been to several concerts which I have really enjoyed, I would love to hear you sing Hold On or The Key.

Funnily enough, Rachel, I was going through a lot of my old records recently, putting together the songs we are going to do for "The Storyman" tour. And I had a good listen to the early albums, and I really enjoyed them. It took me back to a gentler time. A time perhaps, when I was pretty naïve, full of hope and ambition. And I was unaware of what was coming, but prepared to climb that mountain whatever it took. The first track you mention, "Hold On", was in fact the first track I ever recorded. And it sounds fantastic even now, although my voice has changed completely. "The Key", I remember writing that about a young woman who I felt was throwing her life away by not recognizing when people wanted to get close to her. And she got nervous and just made all the wrong moves and mistakes in her life and I was trying to encourage her through that song to change her opinion about others. I sometimes sing "Satin Green Shutters", which is also from that record. And I was toying with the idea of redoing the second last song on the second side "Turning Round", which was a big hit for me in South America. It's still for me a very dramatic tune, and I'd love to try that again some day.

28th October 2006 - Rosemary Welch (36) from London, Ontario, Canada:

I have been a huge fan since high school and have attended two of your concerts. I think you are absolutely amazing. Not only do I love you, but my nine year old son and three year old triplets can't get enough of your music either. The minute we get in the van to go anywhere they all yell, "Chris de Burgh Daddy, please...". During the day we play your CD's and our living room is transformed into a dance club for toddlers. Thank you so much for all the wonderful music. My three year old son, Damon, would like to know if you have a minivan like us. I told him I highly doubt it, but he doesn't believe me. Could you help me out with this one? Thanks.

What a fantastic question! Indeed what a fantastic thing you are saying about your children. That kind of thing really makes me smile. To know that even young children are enjoying my music, maybe even two generations on from when I started. And the idea of a dance-club for toddlers in your living room is just wonderful. You can tell Damon who is probably four by now that I don't have a minivan like your Mummy and Daddy. But we have a Chrysler Grand Voyager, which takes seven people and a dog, and it's very handy for making a trip that involves a bit of a journey, like say down to see my mother in the south of the country. It's about an 80 mile journey. It's even got a DVD player in it, so if people get a little bored by the repetitive scenery that they have seen a few times, they can watch something on a DVD. But generally speaking we just like to chat and talk on the way down when we have a long trip in our Chrysler.

29th October 2006 - Corinne Gerwer (33) from Zurich, Switzerland:

I just want to know what you are dreaming of? What is your greatest wish?

It's almost impossible to ask somebody what they are dreaming of. But I think the basis of everybody's dream has to be their own health and the health of those people around them. It's all very well to have wonderful dreams about achieving things, either collectively or individually. It's a great dream for example in a more global aspect to try and achieve some kind of breakthrough between people and their religious beliefs and more tolerance for each other, which is a theme that I repeatedly come back to. But you can do nothing, if you are in poor health or if you are in pain. Because those people who are ill will know that it is an endless daily grind getting through the day and indeed the night, if you are unhealthy, if you are feeling bad. So my greatest wish for me and for those around me and those that I love is just to stay healthy and enjoy life to the full.

30th October 2006 - John Mulligan (31) from Castlebar, Ireland:

Hi Chris, great to see that you are still touring and having fun with your music as always. Do you take it as a compliment that DJ's want to remix your music and bring it to a new audience like Falke's High Again which features a sample of High On Emotion. Keep up the good work and hopefully you will play in Ireland again soon. Kind regards to the family.

Thanks very much for your question. Yes, it is terrific to see songs like "High On Emotion" being remixed by Falke. "High Again" was a huge club hit during last year 2005, and unfortunately the record company who were dealing with it later in the year made a complete mess of the proper release of the song and the earlier one that people heard in the clubs was a pirate mix. I actually even went to the extent of recording a completely new vocal for Falke and "High Again", but sadly as I say the record label managed to loose all the impetus that had come from the clubs and it never became the hit that it deserved to be. Another young band called "The Bloodhound Gang" were very interested in my music, and they did a remix of a song "I Want It (And I Want It Now)", which was a great compliment of course. Kind regards to you and your family too.

31st October 2006 - Harry McLauchlan (37) from Ottawa, Canada:

For as far back as I can remember every November 11th "This Song For You" plays in my head over and over no matter if I have not heard it in a while. My kids, ages 12 and 14 discovered your music by themselves and I hope to take them to see you in November this year when you come to Ottawa. It seems that music that was meant to not only be heard but listened to will always stand the test of time. Does it surprise you that after 30 years, teenagers are still singing the lyrics to "Patricia the Stripper"?

Thanks very much for your question. You are going to find this a very strange response, but follow me for a moment. The track "This Song For You" comes from "Spanish Train And Other Stories" and it tells the story of a soldier in the trenches of the First World War in 1917, just before the battle of Passchendaele. What your question is suggesting is that you are reacting to the song on November the 11th each year. And the reason to that is, as I am sure most people know, that on November the 11th at 11 o'clock on the 11th month of the year, the guns of the First World War fell silent in 1918. And every year it is Remembrance Sunday in many countries around the world. Earlier this year BBC television contacted my office and said they want me to be involved in this year's Remembrance Day ceremony, and would I please sing the track "This Song For You". Because it's very very unlikely that any soldier who fought in the First World War will be surviving more than this year. In fact, I think those survivors are down to a very very tiny number. And of course I agreed. But it's very strange, Harry, that you have picked up on this song and the connection with Remembrance Sunday. It also surprises me very much that teenagers are still singing "Patricia The Stripper" and as you may know, I did a new recording of that song in the year 2000. And over here in Ireland there is a famous puppet called "Dustin The Turkey" and we did a version together which was a big hit here in Ireland as well.

1st November 2006 - Amina A. (40) from The Netherlands:

I grew up as a multi-culture kid, African/Dutch, and I have sensed how passionate your music lyrics and songs are. Have you ever been influenced of such aspects of multi-culturalism dimension? Many of your songs seems to have this passionate, and in way sad music. How do your life, origin and your tours affect your performance and your songs? Lots of love, I will continue enjoying your great songs, thank you.

I think I've probably touched on this question before, because in the last few years I very much enjoyed music from all over the world. For example from Chile, Patagonia, the Andes, from China, from Russia, from Eastern Europe, from all over Africa, the Cape Verde islands. I have tried to collect music from everywhere to give me an idea of what other cultures have been listening to and what they enjoy listening to nowadays. I suppose having been brought up all over the world gave me an indication of the many cultures that exist on our planet. The passion and sadness and melancholy is very much evident in a lot of folk music from all over the world. Even to my enormous surprise, the minor chord, which is the chord that creates melancholy in a lot of people's hearts is so evident in very out of the way places, like for example Peru and in folk music from many many cultures around the world. It seems to be a common language and a common way of responding to melancholy. Perhaps the harshness of the agricultural life, which of course for most people was the way they lived until relatively recently. Just as I said before, my background and of course the enormous amount of travelling I still do really does affect the way I appreciate the world and its cultures and its people and its music.

2nd November 2006 - Mark Pearce (30) from Middlesborough, Cleveland, USA:

Hi Chris! I am still thinking about your outstanding performance at the Bridgewater Hall last year - and your current Album The Road To Freedom is one of my favorite ones and the best you have written since Power of Ten - keep up the good work. My question! I was listening to an old interview with you on radio two back in 1997 and you were telling the presenter about the time after princess Diana's funeral when you sat around the piano singing to Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Stephen Spielberg (Wow what an audience). I would be very interested to know a few things. Firstly, what songs did you sing? What was their reaction to your amazing musical talent? Were they moved? Who did you feel responded best to your music?

As I am sure many people know, I was a friend of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. And my wife and I were invited to attend her funeral at Westminster Abbey by her good friend Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. And after the funeral I spent quite a lot of time talking to various media outlets about Princess Diana. And in fact the day before the Duchess of York had invited us to dinner. And when we got there we discovered that also at the dining party were the people that you mentioned. Amongst them Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg. It was an amazing dinner. There were only about 12 of us at the table, including the Duke and Duchess of York, the people I spoke about and several other close friends of the Duke and Duchess. After dinner we went into the drawing room and I think one of the things we got into was charades, where people are given a movie or a book or something to perform. And most of us were pretty poor at it, but I remember how brilliant Tom Hanks was at assuming a character almost instantly. I have always been a huge admirer of his in any case, but that night it was amazing to watch him at his profession. There was a piano in the room and I sang for about, I suppose, an hour and a half, you know, standard songs, Beatles songs, a few of my own and the one that I had written for Princess Diana "There's A New Star Up In Heaven Tonight". And just before the others left, Steven Spielberg came up to me and said "Princess Diana was very lucky to have you as a friend", which I felt was an extraordinary compliment coming from a man as famous and talented as himself. And it was an amazing evening for all the people concerned, I think. And certainly for me this evening I will never forget.

3rd November 2006 - Mark Franklin (35) from Ashtead, UK:

Dear Chris; I often search for CdeB items on Ebay, as nice items of memorabilia and rare deleted CD singles for example crop up from time to time. However at the moment there is a seller offering 100 CdeB mp3 files on one CD, which is clearly an illegal bootleg operation. The seller even has the temerity to state in the item description "I hope you enjoy Chris de Burgh as much as I do". I thought to myself that if that person liked CdeB, they would not be ripping him off in this way. My question is, does your company or legal team actively look in places like Ebay and try to get illegal sales like these removed?

Yes, we have a pretty sharp team out there, watching to make sure that there isn't any piracy that goes on, illegal bootleg operations. The trouble is these days it's pretty hard to bring people to court, but there are a number of people who are being stopped and are being fined heavily just to show that this is the kind of activity that generates income for piracy and overall it's an extremely bad thing to do. As it is, it's an expensive business making records and promoting them and by selling illegal downloads and mp3-files, illegal copies, it's basically stealing money from the artist. And in this case, when it's my own record company, it's stealing money from the people who are involved with Ferryman Productions. I know it goes on. I don't like it. And I know a lot of people do not feel sorry for major record companies, because of the kind of money they tend to make at the expense of the poor fans. But whenever somebody does it against an individual like me, it does have an impact. And trust me when I tell you that we are doing our best to make sure it doesn't keep happening.

4th November 2006 - Dave Malcolm (36) from Londonderry, Northern Ireland:

Hi Chris, we've had 'We will Rock You' - Queen The Musical, We've had Abba - The Musical. Have you ever thought about writing a Musical, or of having someone write one based on the stories in your songs?

I have always written songs in a very filmic way. And the idea of doing a musical for me has gone back a long long time. Because shortly after I left University, I got involved writing a musical production, which never hit the stage (probably thankfully). Some of the songs were ok, but some of them were not, because I was only just beginning to learn the craft of songwriting. But I hope in the near future, probably at the end of the year, early next year, to announce plans that I am involved with writing for a new big musical production. And I think it will suit me very well indeed, because of the way that I can visualize things strongly. I have a very theatrical way to a lot of the music that I write. And it's something that is very interesting and challenging.

5th November 2006 - Scott Chasse (41) from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA:

You use your voice so expressively in your songs ("The Painter" gives me chills to this day). Have you ever considered acting or perhaps voice-overs?

This goes back to yesterday's question, i.e. the one that I have just answered, considering acting. When I was in University, I did quite a lot of acting in the players theatre in Trinity College, Dublin. And I am not sure if I was particularly good or bad, but I enjoyed it. And using one's voice for voice-overs, I think that is really quite a skill that I probably couldn't do. Although I have done a few things. For Classic FM I have read a story which was interlinked with music for Christmas day a few years ago. And obviously I do a lot of radio work as well. But as far as acting is concerned, I leave that up to the experts nowadays. However, when I assume a personality in my songs, I actually believe I am that person. So in a way the way I convey my music is almost like in a stage production or a film production. I want to become that person without making too many changes in the way my voice sounds or indeed the accent.

6th November 2006 - Noman A. Mualla (40) from Amman, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:

Hi Chris, It was long time since I enjoyed listening to your music as I became fond of both your music and the nice personality of yours. I wonder about Sailor: Did you really have a girl that you loved so much? If yes, she's so lucky! And could you tell us more about this song especially. Thanks.

What a nice question that you've sent to me. I must offer some sympathies - I know that in the last few weeks there have been attacks on tourists in your beautiful country. And indeed some very good friends of ours are about to go there on holiday. And it pains me to see how tourism, which can be the lifeblood to so many people involved in the tourist industry, can be so instantly damaged by people with bombs and guns and just turning the tourists away. So I offer you sympathy for your country and I hope you will be able to find a way back shortly. The song "Sailor" came from the imagination of a moonlit bay, of a sailing ship on the bay, of a man looking out of the bars of a window of a prison and seeing the sailing ship about to set off under full sail away from the bay. And maybe going up to where he lives. And for me he probably lives in my imagination somewhere in the highlands of Scotland. He is dreaming of returning. He is probably being captured during some war in the 18th century. At least he has been spared his life, but he is longing to go home. And the answer is no, I didn't have anybody that I was dreaming of like this. But I am sure the fans down the years have understood that I have a strong imagination and this is where "Sailor" came from.

7th November 2006 - Pouyan (26) from Atlanta, USA:

Hi Chris, I can't explain what your music does to me ... just thanks for everything. But here is a question that I've always had. In "Last Night" you say "But I can feel there's this new kind of hunger inside". What are you referring to? Thanks a lot.

Thank you for your question. I can't explain in answer to your question why the music does have a reaction. It is just coming from my soul, my spirit and my heart. And I just hope that I do my work correctly and record the songs and write the songs in a way that it actually connects with people all over the world. The song "Last Night" was once more like a film for me. As the camera begins to pan from the left to the right, we see the fishing boats pulled up on the shore. Multi-coloured fishing boats, almost like in a painting by one of the impressionists perhaps, but there they are, very colourful boats pulled up on the shore. The camera moves in, all in one long pan, you can just hear in the distance and growing in volume, a crowd of people who are singing and shouting and roaring and clapping and yelling and cheering. And then the camera moves into the square of the small fishing village, and the mayor, a little portly man, is standing up on a box and he is saying: "Our boys are coming home. The soldiers are coming home." And then we move on to a backstreet where a prostitute is standing underneath the red light, waiting for the soldiers to come back from the war. And away from all the cheering and the celebration, we move up onto a hill, where there are a few trees that have probably died in the high winds up there on the top of the hill, and a churchyard. And there underneath, sobbing, is a widow in black, a young woman. And beside her a soldier in uniform, who is touching her shoulder and trying to comfort her. And she is crying over the death of her husband, a young boy, a soldier, who has been killed in the war. And for me that last scene is the reality one. It's hard to celebrate and glorify war when there are so many people who have been so horribly changed in their lives. Those who survived and also of course those who died. "The new kind of hunger inside" is this one, and I am very glad you brought this up, because it is one that is a perpetual problem for young soldiers today, who join up at the age of 18 or 19. They are trained to kill. They go to war. They kill during the war, and they come back, many of them, mentally scarred, if not physically scarred by what has happened to them. And what do you say to a young boy of 20 or 21, who has seen mutilation, murder. He has killed himself. He has seen sights that most normal people would never ever forget, if they even saw it just once. And these boys are supposed to carry on with their lives as normal. Which of course is virtually impossible, because they are trained killers. That's why a lot of soldiers who come back from wars go back again. The new kind of hunger I am referring to is the hunger to return for some of them to the scenes that they saw and became involved in. The feeling of power over others. And this is what happens to soldiers who were sent out highly trained killers. And if they are not cared for, when they return, some of them will never recover from the turmoil that is going on inside them.

8th November 2006 - Yves Bourbonnière (30) from Montréal, Canada:

Hello Chris... I have become over the years a great fan of yours for a simple reason... I like to sing your songs as much as mine... I am a songwriter in Québec and in France and your songs have guided me to discover my style which is tales and legends story. My question is for some professional advice... How do you manage to compose great historical song like The Crusader and a ballad like The Lady in Red and stay focus... I could have chosen two other songs but I thought these ones were a perfect example of a versatile songwriter? I know this question is large but it will help my progression in composition. By the way, the first song I ever sang in public 7 years ago was an oldie called "A rainy Night in Paris" in front of an audience in Majorque, Spain. I received a standing ovation... That decided me to write and perform since then. Sorry about my English because my first language is French which is the one I use to write my songs. Thank you for reading me. Yves!

Yet again I can mention my love of the people of Montréal and the way they receive me with their affection. And all the friends that I have in that wonderful place. A very interesting question, and one really that I can't easily answer. Because I have no idea where the versatility of my songwriting comes from. Perhaps it comes from the variety of interest that I have. And you have chosen "Crusader" and "The Lady In Red" as being very different styles of songwriting. And I would personally choose "Spanish Train" and "Patricia The Stripper" as being as far apart as you could possibly get. I don't know if down the years that these different poles have become more centralised in my songwriting, but nevertheless I always retain an interest in the unusual and the different. And I suppose also I don't want to be a songwriter who only writes in one particular songwriting area. Which is why my new album "The Storyman" gives me such satisfaction. Because it brings us all over the world, different times, different musical styles and different historical places to go and to enjoy from the perspective of the 21st century.

9th November 2006 - Dale Love (23) from Northamptonshire, UK:

Hi Chris, I think your music is awesome! My favourite album has to be Crusader though! My partner has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl and there was only one name we wanted to call her, Rosanna. We both think it's a wonderful name and we just wanted to know what was your reason for calling your daughter Rosanna? Oh and tell her well done for winning Miss World 2003!

Thank you very much about Crusader. And congratulations about your beautiful baby girl, who is probably, I would say, about one year old now. And I hope you are enjoying her every bit as much as we enjoyed our children growing up. One little word of advice: If you can, get a video camera! Because videoing your children not only is a wonderful memory for the future, but we also found that the children love to watch themselves on video during their growing-up years. And it is much better to watch those kinds of funny things than watching some of the nonsense that is on TV. So many times we would watch, at their request by the way, the children getting up to goofy things on video. And they laughed and laughed until the tears rolled down. Quite recently I put together about 150 of the half hour tapes that I had recorded down the years of three children. I had them transferred to DVD. I got three copies of every single one of them each, and I gave each one of them a box with, I suppose, about 40 or 50 DVDs in them. And I said to all three of them: "Now this is your childhood. I hope you enjoy coming back to these DVDs in years to come. It will give you great memories of growing up." As far as the name Rosanna is concerned, it is quite an old name that my wife and I had come across before and enjoyed. And it is a very feminine name. It is a pretty name, and I think there was also a song by Toto called Rosanna. It just seemed to all come right at the same time. When our daughter was born that was the name that she got pretty quickly. And thank you about the Miss World win. She will always be one of a very elite group of people who won such a prestigious title.

10th November 2006 - Fiona (46) from Tampa, Florida, USA:

I guess I should stop asking if/when you are coming to the USA for a show or two, so I will ask something else.... my favorite song is Ballroom of Romance, what was the inspiration behind this song?

As you know, I am always very keen to get over to the United States and sing. It's just finding an opportunity to do that, which is the problem. But I hope very much to be able to be in America and sing for you again. It's been so long since I have listened to "The Ballroom Of Romance", I just had to go and have a chance again to look at the lyrics and play the music. It is a snappy little tune, that's for sure. The inspiration behind the song took me back to where I was growing up in Wexford in Ireland. And occasionally going to the local dances. Back in the time where in a little dancehall all the men would stand up one wall, and all the girls across another wall were sitting down. And the men would be very shy, and they would probably be drinking their Guinness. And the girls would be drinking what we call minerals, i.e. soft drinks. And occasionally one of the fellows would walk across to a girl and ask for a dance. And if she felt like it and she liked him, they might go for a dance to the band. There is always one of those spinning balls that reflected light all over the place, you know that kind. So imagine that you are in such a place and you are slightly apart from all the group of guys. And an absolutely stunning girl comes in, that nobody has ever seen before. And all the local casanovas are salivating at the mouth, thinking "oh, she is for me!". And then to your absolute amazement, she walks past them, and everybody is looking and she comes up to you and says "Come along. Let's go." It's like a dream, particularly for most young men. Indeed most any men these days. And they jump into her BMW and roar off into the sunset. Now the key to the song is the "I" at the end. It obviously has happened to me. Well, that's the idea. It hasn't of course, but that changes the song around. It's not just a narrative story about somebody else, but then it becomes clear that the singer is the person that this allegedly happened to. All in my imagination of course. And it is a fun tune. I am glad you like it.

11th November 2006 - Monika Maid (48) from Ingolstadt, Germany:

Dear Chris, in one of your MOtL answers you told us that you are working for a music for the film "Trough these eyes". Perhaps you can tell us more about the film, which kind of film it is and when this film will be to see and where. Is it a film appearing in cinemas or for television? I don't want to miss hearing your music in this film! Would be nice of you to get a reply here from you. Thanks Monika

Hi Monika! Thank you for your question. The film "Through These Eyes" is currently going through the pre-production stage. I have written already about four or five new songs for this movie. And hopefully this will go into production at some stage in 2007. Anybody involved with films and the film world will know that the toughest part of making a film is raising the finance. But we are doing ok so far. And I am very pleased with the story and the music. The story has been co-written with a colleague who is a very good film writer. It's about an old lady in a nursing home, who is reaching the end of her days. And she is remembering through her diary what it was like growing up. It is two things happening. One is to have respect for old people and look after them. You wouldn't like to see, if it was your elderly father or mother, being shouted at or abused by people for being slow, walking across the street for example. Or being unable to hear correctly. With a bit of luck we will all be old one day. And the second thing is a look at somebody's life, and there is a very strong spiritual content to this film. And as I say, I am very hopeful that this will go into production shortly.

12th November 2006 - Parham Parsa (23) from Iran:

Dear Chris, at first thanks for your magical song. My question is about Simple Truth. I heard from my friend that you sing it for the war between Iran and Iraq. Is it true?

The song "The Simple Truth" was not written for anything specific or anywhere specific. It was written about how children can get caught up in war. It is a familiar theme for me. It is one that I return to for example in "Up Here In Heaven". "The Simple Truth" was just an idea of how precious the life of a child is. During the late 80s or early 90s the Kurdish refugees were being chased by the Iraqi leader and his men, Saddam Hussein, away from their homelands up into the hills. And a lot of them were being killed, a lot of them were dying from exposure. It was a terrible, terrible time. And as is the way of our current world, a lot of it was captured on news real footage. And it was so sad, appalling. And I remember having tears in my eyes night after night till I got a call from the world famous novelist Jeffrey Archer, who said he wanted to do something as well. And would I consider being involved, did I have a song? And I said well I have got this song called "A Simple Truth". And the whole campaign then became known as "The Simple Truth Campaign" in aid of the Kurdish refugees. And I know it raised many millions. And many many times I have met people from Kurdistan who thanked me on behalf of so many of their countrymen for everything we have done for them. It is a small thing for me to have done, because we did a global satellite transmission as well, concert from the Wembley Arena, attended by the Princess of Wales. I did everything I could. It is usually never enough, when politics so outrageously, horrible and aggressive comes into play as what happened there.

13th November 2006 - Petra (38) from Delmenhorst, Germany:

Dear Chris, I listen to your music since I was 15. After my dad died a few years ago, my mum shared this passion with me. She always was my best friend, and for your tour-start in Bremen, 07/01/05 we got the tickets long ago. In the morning of 18th June 05 my mum passed away suddenly. I didn't want to go to your concert alone, but in the end I did it. When I stood in front of the stage, I felt her close beside me suddenly, singing along with all of us. I will come to your concert in Hannover too. Somehow everything has changed, I don't know what to believe anymore, and everything seems so cold and empty. Only your songs remain, just the feeling when I hear them is the same. I thank you for your music, and I would like to know, if you have a way to go on, in a world, where we have to lose the most important persons we have all the time.

This is a very sad and extraordinary question. In some ways I can't really answer it. And perhaps I shall leave it up to the readers of the guestbook to respond to this in their own way. Maybe by leaving comments on the guestbook for those people in the world who have lost parents, who have lost lovers, who have lost even children, how they have coped with their terrible loss. I fortunately have not lost anybody really close to me except my father. And all I can say to you, Petra, is that you will get over this. You will feel like you are empty. You will feel like there is nothing left to live for. But the human spirit is always strong. It is always powerful. All I do know is that I have huge sympathy for anybody who has had to bury their own children. And that for me would be the absolute killer. I am not sure if I could go on if that happened to me. So may I suggest that people reading this, leave messages on the guestbook or contact Astrid with their thoughts and ideas and maybe we could pass them on to Petra.

14th November 2006 - Corrie Tengnagel (50) from Middelharnis, The Netherlands:

Dear Chris, I would like to ask you a particular question. My husband and I visited the last two concerts of you in Rotterdam. It was fantastic. Now my question is: Did you ever ask Jehovah's witnesses to leave the hall, and if so why? For me this answer is important. Many thanks in advance.

Well, the answer is I certainly didn't! I have no idea if somebody else did. It could have been somebody, if this actually happened, maybe it was somebody involved in the concert hall itself, maybe the production staff. I don't get involved in things like that. My job is to do as good a concert as I possibly can. So I would be interested to know whether you saw something like this happen. I have always held that everybody has the right to believe what they want as long as you don't interfere with other people.

15th November 2006 - Patrick Donohoe (22) from Dublin, Ireland:

Dear Chris, I'm a young man starting out on the long road of becoming a musician. I have been playing guitar for the past four years now and have discovered that my music needs a new direction. My current direction is rock music, but I've become tired of the fact that I must make the audience (especially the young audience of today) nearly want to fight each other during our songs. I was given an old LP by my brother, it was your Best Moves album. I was touched and could relate to many of the songs on the album but one stood out. It was Satin Green Shutters. My question is this have you any advice for a musician who is trying to put more feeling into his songs, plus my brother has recently passed away and I was wondering if you could pass on any information on how to play Satin Green Shutters as it would be an eternal favour to a dear fan. I thank you for taking the time to read this request and I look forward to (hopefully) reading your reply.

This is another one of those extraordinary questions that involve people coming to terms with their grief. And also this young man, Patrick, wants to go on to become a professional musician, which is of course a very difficult road. I know very well how hard it can be. And what I have done, myself, in the past is try to get away from what everybody else is doing and try to do something different. It is a very tough road to go on, Patrick, and the chances of failure right across the board are very high indeed. But at least you know that if you succeed or fail, you have done it your own way. The "Satin Green Shutters" song came from the heart of course, and the only way I can suggest to get more feeling into songs is allow yourself to sink in to that well, that pool inside you, which is full of many things. Of joy, of hope, of sadness, of melancholy. Allow yourself to cry more. Get in touch with your emotions more. When you think about your dead brother, for example, think about growing up with him. Think about fighting with him. Think about playing with him. Think about enjoying things with him. Think about going to things with your parents and with him. Get in touch with your emotions, get closer and closer. It's not hard to do, but it takes practice. For me I didn't need to practice. I was always somebody who is deeply in touch with his own emotions very quickly. This has helped me with my work, my songwriting and obviously with my imagination.

16th November 2006 - Heike Kiwitt (37) from Straelen, Germany:

Dear Chris, you are a great storyteller and everyone of us has his story to tell, I think. It's not easy for me to make you understand me, my English is not so well, but I'll try. You did wonderful songs about things that happened and about feelings most of us know well. Because you wrote 'Songbird' and you always sing it with soul I think I can tell you a story. 12 years ago my son Marvin was born, we were happy about our second son and everything seems to be ok. But when he was only 14 days on earth my baby died. It took a year before I could go on living again, it was a difficult time for me, my husband and our, at this time 3 years old son Kevin. Four years later, in 1998 we held Steffen in our arms and he is such a wonderful boy. The special thing is that I think the soul (how do you call 'Seele' in English?) - I think the soul of Marvin had come back and is now full of happiness and just joining life every day. The question is: do you think you can imagine what I felt when my baby died, and the fight I had to win to stand up, can you imagine the fear when we were waiting for the baby which is Steffen now? And can you imagine the love and the pain when he was born? Love for him, pain when the pictures of Marvin are so strong. We are very happy now with our two sons but there is always Marvin on my mind. I wonder if you can put these feelings in a song. Expecting a baby so hopefully, hold him in your arms, then he dies - there is only pain. Then stand up, take the risk again full of fear. Then the happiness about a healthy baby, now a boy just loving life for itself. But always remember the baby which died. I believe that you are the one who can imagine and put it in words - you've got a place in my heart and I love your wonderful voice. Sorry, the letter is sooo long, but I could not tell my story in a shorter way. Love, Heike

Heike, please accept my deepest sympathies for the terrible grief and loss that you must have been going through. There is not a lot more I could say about your deeply moving letter.

17th November 2006 - Alain Dahan (18) from Ottawa, Canada:

Hi Chris, I loved Lebanese Night with Elissa, not only because I am proud to have an artist such as yourself to sing for Lebanon but because it touches a person deep inside like most of your songs. I have been singing for several years now, I want to thank you for having such amazing songs that have been helping me learn... and finally I have reached a level where I am proud to say "I can sing". So I would like to thank you. It wouldn't have been possible without your songs because these days it's hard to find what I call "real taste in music". My question to you is do you think that you were born talented, or was it just by practicing you developed a wonderful voice? The reason for asking this question is because I noticed that if I didn't practice every single day I start falling back. I would also like to know briefly about how you started your career. My voice is very similar to Josh Groban's, this is because I also trained myself on his songs, and my voice became like his unintentionally. Is it a bad to have a voice similar to a Superstar's?

Thanks for very much, Alain, for your kind words about Elissa and my song "Lebanese Night", which was, as you know, a number one record in many places all over the Middle East including Arab countries which was a real thrill for me. At this point I'd like to, again, state how saddened I was by the war in Lebanon and how it is my intention to try and return and show my affection, respect and support for the people of Lebanon as soon as possible. I am delighted, Alain, that you have managed to sing by singing along with me, because I have quite a big vocal range. I think in my heart, just about everybody is born with the ability to sing. And I started singing at a young age, mainly because of where I was growing up, which was in this old castle in Wexford in Ireland, where in the summertime we'd have guests to stay. So I had a chance to sing a lot during the summer months. And if I listen back to my voice even on the early records, it really has changed dramatically. Mainly because I have learned to breathe properly. And I took a lot more care of my health, I drink a lot of water and try to use my voice a bit every day. It doesn't mean I practise for hours and hours and hours. On the contrary, I am often told by opera singers they are amazed that I can sing five nights a week for anything like up to three hours a night without training and without constant practice. I think it's all got to do with a mental attitude as well as health and looking after myself. No, I don't think there is anything wrong with sounding like Josh Groban, because he is a very fine singer. However it is important to allow your own style to come through. I am not a big fan of the trained opera voices, where they sound sometimes like strangled cats. I much prefer identity and personality to come through in a human voice, when it sings.

18th November 2006 - Stefan Lauer (38) from Germany:

Can you tell us about the progress of your Storyman project, are the members of your actual band the same ones as last time?

By the time this question is answered it is quite likely that my Storyman album has been released, so a lot of people will have had a chance to discover for themselves whether they like it or not and to assess whether it ranks as one of my best or better CDs. Personally I am extremely pleased with it. I love the ideas behind the songs. I loved developing them. Recording mostly was a lot of fun, particularly the live recording with the 92 piece orchestra in Abbey Road Studios across 2 days. And working with the Russian singers and with the Mahatalla Queens who are from South Africa. It's an interesting project for me and it does not have anything to do with the commercial world of music, which I don't really listen to much anymore. This is my own project, my own ideas and writing the stories to developing my ideas so people can actually visualize the stories as films has also been very exciting for me to do. And I am quite certain that if this record is accepted the way I hope it is, I will follow up with "The Storyman" part 2 in the years to come. The band members are not the original Canadian band of course, that really dissolved in the early 90s. But the band is comprised of 3 members of the original band that I had within the last few years and there are two new keyboard players as well, so it should sound pretty interesting.

19th November 2006 - Kaveh (30) from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

Dear Chris, I'm always taking my questions from your beautiful songs, but I want to know more about the Saint Peter's Gate and Rivers Of Abraham, that where are these places exactly? Another thing is I'm Iranian but I came to Malaysia for freedom, when I felt Jesus in my heart. And as I see there are many fans here, why you don't set up a tour program for East Asia? Thank you.

I can explain a little bit about Saint Peter's Gate. It's that I had this idea some years ago about revenge, and how at the end of our lives, it doesn't make any difference, if you are a princess or a king or a president or an ordinary person. We are all the same in the eyes of whichever God you believe in. And I had the feeling that it would be nice if in the after-life that there was a chance for all those people who had been murdered, whose lives had been ruined by the actions of a small number of people, dictators, for example Stalin, Mugabe when he goes finally. The really really seriously bad men on this planet. It would be great that they would be greeted up at Saint Peter's Gate by all those people that they have damaged in the past. And the souls of these bad people are then for eternity being tortured by those they have hurt in the past. It is obviously a crazy and foolish idea, I suppose. But maybe not. We don't know what happens after death. So I created this story around Saint Peter's Gate as me arriving at my destination and then only to discover that I hadn't been called yet. But I did see one of these dictators being brought to his knees and given a very hard time indeed. The Rivers of Abraham of course doesn't exist, only in my head. But I had this idea about the early times of Moses saying to the people around him to go forth and multiply. Similarly the people who go out from this planet to take the seed of mankind into the solar system. It is a similar kind of idea.

20th November 2006 - Nune Jende (43) from South Africa, living in Australia, currently in Holland:

Salutations! How you influenced my life! How you moved my heart! Your music tore me apart! Thank you for the lyrics, the music. Have you ever read "Objectivism", the theories of Ayn Rand? All related material? May I ask you to not give up, seize the day, inspire, make a difference, the talents you have, the opportunities, another "Passchendaele", another "Lady in Red", it sounds cheeky, trite, obnoxious but please - one more song - your personal best - the lily of the valley - the song of songs - something about kindness, compassion, love, laughter, children, bravery, morality, values, rationality, caring - so many great leaders - make a difference - yours sincerely - Nune

Again this is one of those extraordinary questions or indeed comments that really I can't say too much about, except to say thank you very much. My whole life has been built on trying to make a difference to not only those around me, but other people that I can touch through my music around the world. So I do my best to try and change things for the better. I haven't read Ayn Rand yet, but I do have two books by him and I want to get round to reading them at some stage.

21st November 2006 - Bryce Tidwell (36) from Macon, GA, USA:

The "Lady in Red" is one of my all time favorite songs. It so eloquently captures the euphoria of romance and love in full bloom. I am not yet married, but I have taken flight on the wings of love, enough to know the dreams of love, and I have a dream of one day dancing with my (future) wife, on our wedding night, to a remake of "The Lady in Red" song--using the words "The Lady in White" to perfectly capture the sentiment of the wedding night. I wonder if you have ever considered doing a version of this song specifically for newlywed brides (who usually wear white). I suspect there are millions of future brides out there who will long for their husbands, on their wedding night, to echo the words of your song through a song dedication or a whispered affirmation of her beauty. Thanks for taking time to answer this and other questions. Thanks for helping me dream the dream, of a love yet seen.

What a terrific question! In fact you write this, as if you yourself are a writer. You have used some wonderful adjectives, and you create a very interesting and special and romantic mood with the words you have composed here. My song "The Lady In Red" is actually used all over the world for the first dance after a wedding or during weddings. And I think a couple of times I actually sang it specifically to people at weddings as "The Lady In White", but I haven't got round to actually recording a version. Maybe it could go "The Lady in White, is with me tonight, cheek to cheek." Anyway, I might get round to that one day, just to think about all those newlywed brides who usually wear white, you are quite right. Thanks very much for your words about my music and in particular "The Lady In Red".

22nd November 2006 - Billie Wilson (55) from Glasgow, Scotland:

Hello Chris, I'm fairly new to your website but not to your music. If I could I would like to tell you what your music means to me. I have m/s and when the pain gets a bit much I listen to your music and because you tell a story in your songs and you sing them with such emotion I am there with you and for a while the pain becomes bearable. Thank you for that. But one night I was listening to one last song before I went to bed and it was "You And Me". I had never heard this song before and I thought you were saying goodbye. I was listening on the Ipod and it was too late to go through all my music to find out when you recorded it. I have since found out you recorded it on the Crusader CD and it was 1979. Can you tell me why you wrote that song and what it meant at that time? If you can't answer this I hope you read it just so you know how much your music means to lots of people. Thank you Chris. Take care and God bless. Billie.

As you have correctly said "You And Me" is the last song on the album "Crusader". I wrote this because Crusader itself is such a big song. And although I wanted it to be close to the end of the record - and don't forget those were the times of vinyl records, so it would be on side 2 of a vinyl record or indeed of a cassette - I wanted to have a way of saying thanks very much, it's the end of the record and I will be back to sing for you again. And I will take you back to - in fact the lyric goes: "I will lead you through the ancient halls and stories of the past and the many ways of loving. And when all is said and done, there is only you and me. You and me." And that just refers to not only people close to me, but also singing for the audience that has inspired me and looked after me and supported me all these years.

23rd November 2006 - Renae Dewji (46) from Hartford, USA:

Dear Chris, Long time, no chat! I'm glad that MOtL is back. I missed it. I'm really looking forward to "The Storyman." Just by the excitement surrounding it by your fans, it sounds like it will be good. I am sure it will be well worth the wait. What sort of events, experiences, etc. did you draw upon while writing the material for "The Storyman?" Did you find it an easy endeavor? The real question I want to ask you today is, if you had to choose - absolutely had to pick one album of yours that you thought was your best in every way - which one would it be? Glad to see you back. Thanks for being you. Best always, Renae Dewji.

I am also delighted that MOtL is back again. And I would take this opportunity to yet again thank Astrid for all her hard work in listening to the tapes that I send her and trying to make sure that she writes down exactly what I say. And maybe some of the things that I say may be said in a difficult to understand way, but it's a wonderful way of communicating with my fans around the world. "The Storyman", as I said in an earlier answer, should be out by now. I am very excited by this record. The material came from my imagination, many places around the world that struck me as being interesting. But actually a lot of the songs arrived unannounced. I didn't actually think "I want to go to Leningrad in 1941", I just had a piece of melody and a few words that struck me as if it started off a film about Leningrad in that era. Not that I've read a book, but I knew a bit about it. I actually had to go on the internet to find out some more information, as I did about just about all the other songs as well to be factually accurate. And if I had to choose one album? I couldn't really do that, but I would put into my top 3 probably for reasons of what they did for my career and going back to listen to the melodies and the fun I had recording these albums, I would probably put "The Getaway", "Into The Light" and the current one "The Storyman" into my top 3. And at number four would most likely be "The Road To Freedom".

24th November 2006 - Tom Hannon (27) from Amsterdam, The Netherlands:

Hello Chris - I often wonder to myself that if I was a famous musician the world over, how history would judge me for my contribution to both music and away from music. How do you think history will judge yourself? All the best, Tom

I have no idea how history will judge me. But I would like to think that my music will be acknowledged as being perhaps better composed, better written than I have been given credit for by writers in the music industry. I think they would have preferred if I had suffered a bit more in public. Either being a drug addict or an alcoholic, or lived the rock'n roll life style to make it more acceptable to what they would have been if they had been in my position. I have always believed that it is much better to stay healthy for the ones that you love and for your own benefit rather than pandering to the tastes of a very very small number of music critics, most of whom are failed musicians in any case. So I would like to think that people will come back to my melodies and my stories for many years to come. And I hope that people will enjoy them through the generations. That's every musician's dream obviously and every songwriter's dream to not only span the world but also span generations with his music.

25th November 2006 - Laurent Tomassini (31) from Paris, France:

Hi Chris, I like to take photos everywhere to catch good moments, a special wonderful sunset, and many other unfamiliar things. I always have my camera with me to catch them and to be ready for the perfect moments that I need. I also like after taking photos, have a personal touch and make diaporamas to add for private use a musical background to illustrate my feelings. Do you like also to take photos in your beautiful country, or do you have sometimes the regret to be in a special place looking a beautiful sky (for example) and don't have a camera to remember it in this way?

Hi Laurent! I know you. We have met before. And it's great to have a camera with you. But you know, it's pathetic for me to admit this, but I had an Olympus camera many years ago, and then I just stopped bringing it with me on tour, because it was an extra piece of luggage. I don't know why I didn't bother to get one, but nowadays with digital cameras they are amazing and they are light. And if you don't like a picture you just erase it. It's also a great way of showing my family where I have been. For example recently in New Zealand, Australia and Dubai. And it's a great way of sharing information with friends on the internet. Often I have been in the situation, I am ashamed to say, where I have seen a fantastic sunset or an item I wish I had taken a picture of, and I didn't have my camera with me. But as they are getting smaller and smaller and easier to carry, you never know, I may have one in my pocket the next time we meet and we'll take a picture of each other.